Peterborough This Week
June 24, 2014
By: Lance Anderson

PETERBOROUGH — Joni Mitchell would be proud.

A group of GreenUP volunteers are “depaving paradise” near a parking lot to make room for a new garden in front of Brock Mission on Murray Street.

Peterborough is one of only five centres across Canada to receive money through Green Communities Canada for the new project called Depave Paradise. The goal is to create green space around the front door of the Brock Mission, a shelter that provides emergency housing, food and clothing for men.

This week, volunteers will remove asphalt in front of the building and create a garden with trees, plants and a walkway. The project also replaces the paved area with a permeable surface to allow rainwater to soak into the ground, lessening the risk of flooding.

“When driving by you could tell it (the front of the building) needs some love,” says Alix Taylor, water programs co-ordinator at GreenUP. “(When it’s finished) it will be more welcoming for people who use it.”

Bill McNabb, executive director of the Brock Mission, says he is thrilled GreenUP decided to focus their efforts on the building. He adds the garden will be a welcomed addition for the people who use the mission for help.

“It will create a more homey environment. It will be more calm and pleasant,” says Mr. McNabb.

Ms Taylor says the project is only possible with help from community partners. Much of the funding doled out by Green Communities Canada comes from the RBC Blue Water Project. Scott McCaig, branch manager of RBC on Chemong Road, says the Blue Water Project is a $50-million commitment from the financial institute over 10 years.

“So far RBC has pledged over $38 million to over 650 charitable organizations worldwide,” says Mr. McCaig, adding that includes a few local projects in the Kawarthas like the Depave Paradise initiative.

Other partners of the project include Intact Insurance, TD Friends of the Environment, the City of Peterborough, Mortlock Construction, Drain Brothers and the Night Kitchen.