Green Communities Canada (GCC) is excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Depave Paradise. The program originated in Oregon and was brought to Canada by former GCC Director of Water Programs Sharyn Inward.
“When I first saw this project in Portland, I could hardly think of anything else until we found the resources to bring it to Canada. So proud, and so grateful to have been part of this powerful project that is unparalleled in its ability to inspire, motivate and encourage greener choices in everyone who participates.” – Sharyn Inward, Former GCC Director of Water Programs.
Over the last decade, Depave Paradise has become the primary program of GCC’s Water Department – engaging over 4,000 volunteers to establish 64 permanent community green spaces from areas of unused pavement, and depaving a total of 14,000m2 of paved surfaces (that’s equivalent to 2.5 football fields!).
More than 17,000 volunteer hours of hard labour have gone into these beautiful community transformations, ripping up asphalt (and sometimes even concrete!) with nothing more than hand tools and wheel barrels, and replacing it with gorgeously landscaped trees, native wildflowers, shrubs and grasses.
Depave sites all across Canada have beautified communities, and created a real sense of belonging, motivating further environmental action and stewardship, and educating the public about stormwater issues in the process. Sites have been established at public schools, universities and colleges, storefronts and small businesses, faith buildings, community services and pre-existing parks, and on downtown streets. They have taken place in five different provinces, with over 22 community organizations coordinating locally.
The environmental benefits of these collective projects are staggering – over 25,000 kilograms of pollutants have been diverted from local lakes and rivers due to the diversion of stormwater from traditional drains and pipes. This is equivalent to the weight of 15.5 cars! In total, nearly six Olympic-size swimming pools of stormwater have been diverted through our projects, a volume of 14,300 m3! These are lasting impacts that will continue to compound over time.
To the many funders, volunteers, community organizations, and local partners, who have supported this work over the last decade, we offer a heartfelt- THANK YOU. We could not do any of this without your dedication and support. Looking ahead we’re incredibly excited to make 2022 the best Depave year yet with 15 projects slated for completion across Canada in the spring.