Green space, and pink space and blue space…

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH -

Towns and cities of the 21st cen­tury are of­ten filled with build­ings big and small, as­phalt roads, ce­ment side­walks and, if your com­mu­nity is lucky, green space.

New York City has Cen­tral Park, Chicago has Millennium Park, Lon­don has Hyde Park, St. John’s has Bowring Park, and Bon­av­ista has the Orange Hall Pub­lic Gar­den. All are towns and cities with planned green space built into their built en­vi­ron­ment.

Though some green spaces may be far smaller than oth­ers — such as the Pub­lic Gar­den in Bon­av­ista ver­sus the enor­mous parks of large cities — green space is green space. No mat­ter what the size, these sites have tremen­dous value in any com­mu­nity.

In At­lantic Canada ‘of­fi­cial’ and ‘des­ig­nated’ green space has of­ten been left to the cities. Now, how­ever, many smaller com­mu­ni­ties ex­pect gar­dens and parks built into their neigh­bour­hoods.

Green spaces, which come in many forms, make an es­sen­tial con­tri­bu­tion to the qual­ity of life of cit­i­zens in any re­gion. These ar­eas pro­vide a recre­ational re­source, a peace­ful re­treat for young and old, a medium for so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, pos­si­bly a learn­ing and play site for chil­dren, a re­serve for wildlife within a man-made city/town­scape, as well as an at­trac­tive back­drop to built de­vel­op­ment or her­itage.

With this said, green spaces are of­ten not given the same pri­or­ity as other calls on mu­nic­i­pal funds. Town/city squares, parks, gar­dens and buf­fers cur­rently found in your com­mu­nity, or lack thereof, are the legacy or fail­ure of past ad­min­is­tra­tions and com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions.

With our cur­rent and grow­ing knowl­edge of com­mu­nity well­ness, aes­thet­ics, and the en­vi­ron­ment, we must push our com­mu­ni­ties to of­fer affordable in­vest­ments in our­selves and in our nat­u­ral land­scape.

In Bon­av­ista, for ex­am­ple, we have seen notable growth in con­struc­tion as of late but no ad­di­tional green space has been set aside for the com­mu­nity’s res­i­dents to share and pro­tect.

Bon­av­ista of­fers no park with built in­fra­struc­ture to cater to all ages. We have, how­ever, seen sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in pub­lic green space on a smaller scale: flower beds, tree plant­ings, and now the Orange Hall Pub­lic Gar­den. These projects, many of them a re­sult of part­ner­ships be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity or Her­itage Town­scape Foun­da­tion and the Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety, of­fer tremen­dous ben­e­fit to the en­tire re­gion but each com­mu­nity should work to­ward a green­ing of their as­phalt maze.

When a new hous­ing de­vel­op­ment or com­mer­cial zone is planned, a com­mu­nity should au­to­mat­i­cally pro­tect or re­plant a cer­tain per­cent­age of land as com­mon/pub­lic space for all to en­joy.

Cre­at­ing or des­ig­nat­ing a park in your com­mu­nity should not be dif­fi­cult. Lob­by­ing your lo­cal gov­ern­ing bod­ies and coun­cils is a great start. Gar­den­ing and a treed land­scape of­fer some­thing to ev­ery­one; not just gar­den­ers.

Do your part and start a small com­mu­nity or pub­lic gar­den, park or pro­tected area in your town or city.

It is a great com­mu­nity pro­ject to in­volve all ages and groups, re­sult­ing in a won­der­ful sense of pride in your re­gion. Green your com­mu­nity in any way you can and ques­tions in­volv­ing such an en­deavor are wel­comed.

Un­til next time, let’s wait to­gether for this rainy and cool June to end.

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