At a "depave", community volunteers use hand tools to tear up a section of unused asphalt (an old driveway or parking lot, say) and plant flowers and trees in the cleared space.
The purpose of a depave is not only to beautify the depaved area. That's part of it, but ultimately the objective is to increase the amount of permeable surfaces in a community to allow more rainwater to soak into the ground instead of draining off into storm sewers. The idea is to help restore the natural hydrologic cycle to urban areas so that water can be filtered and cleaned by soaking through the soil before it enters local waterways.
When rain falls on paved surfaces like roads, it picks up whatever is on the road -- oil, grease, gas, cigarette butts, etc -- before it flows into the storm sewer. And once that polluted water is in the storm sewer, if flows directly into nearby waterways (in Kingston's case, Lake Ontario), untreated.
We all drink that water. And swim in it, and fish in it. It's in everyone's best interests to keep it clean.
That's what a depave does, albeit on a small scale. In previous years, Red Squirrel (then operating as Hearthmakers Energy Cooperative) has depaved areas at Mulberry Waldorf School, Rideau Heights Public School, and a private homeowner's driveway in the Kingscourt neighborhood. As a result of these efforts, Kingston can boast of having hosted more Depave Paradise events than any other Canadian city.
Of course, another important Depave objective is to bring people together. And this one certainly has. Supported by Green Communities Canada and with funding from the RBC Blue Water Project, Red Squirrel has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Kingston & Area and received generous in-kind support from Stone & Maple Landscaping, Cruickshank Construction, Hughson Fencing, RBC, Loving Spoonful, James Brown and Youth Diversion. People from each of these organizations, businesses and people have contributed time, money and good old elbow grease to make this event happen.
In a week or so, Red Squirrel will post some pictures, and maybe a video, of the Oct. 3 event.