RBC funds Depave Paradise in 6 communities in 2015

Thanks to a generous donation from the RBC Blue Water Project to the Green Communities Foundation, Depave Paradise events will be taking place in six Canadian cities this year.

Depave Paradise is a project of Green Communities Canada and its member organizations across the country. Areas of unused asphalt are torn up by volunteers using hand tools and replaced with green space.

June 4 is RBC Blue Water day, and RBC will be making a presentation of a $100,000 cheque to the Green Communities Foundation at the Brock Mission in Peterborough at 9:00am. The Brock Mission was the site of a Depave Paradise project in 2014, organized by GreenUP, in which 62 square metres of asphalt were torn up by hand by volunteers and replaced with a garden of native plants.

On RBC Blue Water Day, you might want to ask, what does tearing up pavement have to do with water?

The urban water cycle is broken. Vegetation is replaced with hard surfaces, which greatly increases runoff. The rain picks up pollutants like pet waste, chemicals, soaps, oil, and grease. Stormwater management systems are not designed to accommodate the level of extreme precipitation we are now facing, and floods are becoming increasingly common.

Depave Paradise demonstrates how we can reduce the proliferation of hard surfaces. We find pockets of unused pavement in cities and turn the removal into a community workbee. Using prybars and shovels, our volunteers tear up the pavement and reclaim a small piece of paradise. The gardens and permeable pavement that we install in place of the asphalt soak up water into the ground, filtering it through soil and plants, avoiding runoff and pollution and protecting local waterbodies. Added benefits of removing pavement in include reduced urban heat island effect, increased habitat, and the social and health benefits of increased access to green space.

Over the past three years, Depave Paradise participants have removed over 1,000 m2 of asphalt in 10 events. Events have taken place at schools, churches, public lands, community centres, and housing cooperatives. RBC has generously supported this project in the past, and we are thrilled to have their renewed commitment this year.

Projects this year will take place at six sites to be selected in Montreal, Winnipeg, Peterborough, Collingwood, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Kingston.

Learn more about Depave Paradise at www.depaveparadise.ca.