Playing on the iconic words of Joni Mitchell, a local organization is looking to ‘Depave Paradise’ and ‘get rid of the parking lot.’
Red Squirrel Conservation Services is partnering with St. Lawrence College (SLC) to host a Depave Paradise Kingston event that aims to transform 180m2 of unused parking lot into green space. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2019 at St. Lawrence College.
The St. Lawrence College “depaving party” is one of thirty-six projects supported by Green Communities Canada and funded through the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Depave Paradise supports volunteers and neighbourhoods in removing unwanted pavement replacing it with gardens of native species plants. Red Squirrel Conservation Services Water Program Coordinator Jason Jobin said that the event “will kick off our Depave Paradise events in The City of Kingston.”
The hands-on initiative will help to demonstrate how communities can create green spaces to divert water from our sewer systems and allow it to filter into the soil before entering our waterways, keeping water cleaner and making communities more resilient to flood events.
Since the space is beside the SLC Indigenous centre, the area will be turned into a place for staff and students to learn about indigenous culture, perform traditional ceremonies, and grow traditional medicines.
“We think it’s a really great partnership because not only will we be removing asphalt to benefit the environment and the health of our water systems, but will also be creating a gathering center,” said Jobin. “We’re hoping to have some traditional plants and signs talking about some of the teachings of the local First Nations.”
Those with the college echoed Jobin’s sentiments.
“The new Outdoor Indigenous Gather Space not only supports sustainability, but supports our strategic objective of Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Being,” said Rick Anderson, Director of Student Service at St. Lawrence College.
Volunteers will be welcomed by Portsmouth District City Councilor Bridget Doherty and St. Lawrence College President Glenn Vollebregt. Additionally, Habitat for Humanity has donated steel toe boots to allow for more volunteers to take part, and volunteers are still able to register to help out by contacting Jobin (see below).
To read more on Depave Paradise, visit their website. For information on the depaving event and how to participate, visit the event Facebook page or contact Red Squirrel Conservation Services Water Program Coordinator Jason Jobin by email at [email protected].