Groundbreakers was an innovative stormwater management project officially launched in July 2016 in the Kingscourt neighbourhood of central Kingston. Its purpose was to help reduce basement flooding in the area by helping homeowners in the community understand how water was getting into their basement, and working with them to address problems using tried-and-true techniques such as rain barrels and rain gardens.
In 2017, working with a professional landscape architect, homeowners and volunteer teams, Groundbreakers installed rain gardens at seven Kingscourt homes and at a local church. Ideally, Groundbreakers will prove to be the first step towards the routine use of green infrastructure as a way of managing stormwater across the City of Kingston.
Red Squirrel's primary partners in Groundbreakers were the Kingscourt Community Association and the City of Kingston. The project was supported by funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and technical assistance from Green Communities Canada.
Remember the old Joni Mitchell song, "Big Yellow Taxi" -- the one whose most famous lyric is "They paved paradise, put up a parking lot"?
Well, Red Squirrel's Depave Paradise program does the opposite. At a "depave", volunteers from neighbourhoods, schools and community organizations come together for a day or two to manually tear up sections of unused asphalt -- such as an old parking lot -- and plant native plants, grass, trees and shrubs in its place.
Red Squirrel has completed a number of succesful depaves projects in recent years. Here's one of them, which was generously supported by the RBC Blue Water Project.
The result of a depave is not only a beautiful new green space where there used to be cracked, ugly pavement. It also increases the amount of permeable surface in urban areas, which enables more runoff to soak into the ground and be filtered by the soil -- the way it does in nature -- instead of running off into storm sewers. The result: cleaner water in our rivers and lakes.
Interested in doing a depave on your property? Let us know!
Red Squirrel is pleased to deliver the RAIN program in Kingston on behalf of Green Communities Canada.
As the Kingston-area delivery agent for RAIN, Red Squirrel hold hands-on workshops on various ways to mitigate stormwater pollution. Topics include building your own rain barrels, composting pet waste and improving the drainage on your property.
Want other tips on how to rain-proof your property and neighbourhood and keep water clean? Check out the excellent advice on the RAIN website!