A program manager with a non-profit beautifying Hamilton’s Barton Street East by putting green spaces where there was once concrete says that taking on a pedestrian “bump out” near Sherman Avenue North has been a new experience.
“This is the first time we’re doing a bump out. It’s essentially a little corner piece owned by the city,” Green Venture’s Liz Enriquez said.
“It was just a concrete slab so we thought, OK, let’s just ask the city if we can do this little bump out, and we got approval.”
Community support and volunteering for “depave” projects along the thoroughfare are not something the long-term campaign has had trouble with, garnering as many as 40 volunteers recently during a conversion at the library on 571 Barton.
“We finished in an hour and I thought … well that was a lot faster than needed,” Enriquez recalled.
“It’s really encouraging because there is so much community support and we’re continuing to build community support.”
This past year, Green Venture hosted over a dozen stewardship events at sites across the city, highlighted by the installation of three new urban gardens and multiple mini-forest planting events.
Cleaning up litter and removing weeds at various greenspaces are a part of the effort to inject more greenery in a district that has essentially been a sea of asphalt and concrete over the decades.
Crews began taking on the Barton Street project in the spring, adding not only the gardens but also permeable surfaces to better the stormwater management and cooling of the neighbourhood through the filtering of polluted runoff and to increase the natural habitat for birds, bees and butterflies.
Depave Paradise is a nationwide initiative supported by Green Communities Canada, a community-based climate action movement around since 1995.
Since then, some 1,435 square metres (15,446 square feet) of surface at 13 sites in the city, have been contributing to the absorption of an estimated 1.6 million litres of stormwater annually.
Since 2020, five concrete boulevards on Barton and Cannon Streets have become greenspaces with close to 438 square metres of asphalt and the addition of 850 native trees, shrubs and
Work on a pair of Barton Street garden spaces is underway, including the extension of a garden at the side of a building at Emerald Street as part of a second phase.
“So the back of that building was left unfinished just because it needed … some work from the landlord,” according to Enriquez.
“To finish that garden, I think it’s over 150 new plants are going into that garden space.”
The east entrance into the Barton Street BIA will also be getting some treatment in mid-October with a new public green space and mural around the Packing House, a wholesale butcher shop.
Partners will transform the boulevard at 673 Barton St. E. via the removal of some 72 square metres of pavement.
Volunteers are still being sought for a few limited available spots. Those interested can register through the Green Venture website.
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