Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin 38
25 November 2015
Published by Green Communities Canada

Depave Paradise tears up pavement across Canada

Walk by a busy commercial intersection in Peterborough, a schoolyard in Ottawa, a kids play area in Kingston, and a residential alleyway in Montreal, and you might notice some big changes. All of these sites are part of the 2015 Depave Paradise program, in which community groups partnering with site hosts get volunteers to tear up unused pavement and replace it with native plants and trees.

Depave Paradise is a program of Green Communities Canada and its member organizations. With funding support from the RBC Blue Water Project, six sites in communities across the country are now being transformed – the four mentioned above, and two more in Winnipeg and Hamilton to be completed in spring of 2016. 

Depave Paradise engages communities in understanding problems affecting the urban water cycle due to the growth in impervious surfaces, and green infrastructure solutions that restore and imitate natural ecological processes. Depave Paradise is a great way of attracting attention from community members, the media, businesses, and VIPs like municipal, provincial and federal politicians. 

Removing an unnecessary impervious surface and restoring soil and vegetation not only reduces runoff and water pollution: it creates green space that can be used by communities, adds habitat and increases biodiversity, reduces the urban heat island effect, makes streets more walkable, and sequesters carbon. 

In total, there have been 15 Depave Paradise events...[Read more....]



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Latest news

Ontario’s strategy for climate change.  This week the Ontario government released a climate change strategy. The strategy includes a high level commitment to implementing green infrastructure but doesn’t outline a concrete action plan. This continues the province's commitment to green infrastructure adding to what has been stated in other recently released provincial policies, such as the Great Lakes Strategy and the Provincial Policy Statement. A clear implementation strategy is the next step.

Roadways and stormwater. Green infrastructure along roadways  can capture water to recharge aquifers and support municipal water resources, improve climate change resilience, and reduce water pollution. In the Credit River watershed, roadside green infrastructure pilot projects absorb up to 90% of rainfall and reduced phosphorous by 70%. The City of Mississauga considers the use of green infrastructure on all capital road projects.

Climate change and municipalities. Next week 190 nations are meeting in Paris to discuss a new global agreement on climate change. At a local level, a growing number of municipalities are working to balance urban growth with green space through neighbourhood redevelopment policies in order to build climate resilience.

Are treehuggers happier?  Recent research has shown that hugging trees (or just being around them) has a beneficial effect on our mental health. Green space in residential neighbourhoods has been linked to a reduction in aggressive and violent behaviour, and strengthened ties among residents.

Suzuki on natural infrastructure. Last week David Suzuki released a syndicated column in support of incorporating natural infrastructure into cities in order to minimize the impacts of climate change. Suzuki cited the benefits of building green in reducing infrastructure costs, improving the health of residents, and enhancing the beauty of urban areas.

Useful resources

Global water issues. Three books capture the complex politics of water. Good science that respects natural processes needs to influence water management decisions.

Collecting and using rainwater at home. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a how- to guide for homeowners on installing rainwater harvesting systems to capture water for gardening and toilet flushing.

Watershed systems as infrastructure assets. The Partnership for Water Sustainability in B.C. has released a guidance document to help municipalities move beyond traditional infrastructure asset management and to include watershed systems as infrastructure assets that provides municipal services.


Soak It Up! Effective tools for community action. Manage rain where it falls and reduce runoff pollution and volumes. Free workshop. 2 December. Toronto, Ontario. Registration information. Hosted by Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition and presented by Green Communities Canada.

Implementing green infrastructure in rural and growing communities. Webinar. 8 December 2015. Hosted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Register online.

Rainwater Catchment Accredited Professional Workshop. 12-13 January 2016. Toronto, Ontario. Register online.

TRIECA. Conference. 23-24 March 2016. Brampton, Ontario. Early bird registration online. Hosted by Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Want to see more events? Check out the RAIN Events Calendar for other upcoming green infrastructure workshops, training, webinars and conferences.

The Umbrella Stormwater Bulletin is a free, biweekly newsletter on green stormwater infrastructure published by the RAIN Community Solutions program of Green Communities Canada. Our audience is made up of municipal stormwater professionals, policymakers, academics, engineers, conservation authorities, nonprofits, and interested community members. We encourage submissions from our readers. Please contact the editor to submit a news item, blog idea, or event. RAIN Community Solutions builds support for and participation in stormwater innovations that reduce runoff by managing rain where it falls.

Copyright © 2015 Green Communities Canada, All rights reserved.


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