Volunteers tear up pavement for new green space in downtown Peterborough
Unused Water Street stub to become extension of Millennium Park
Peterborough volunteers hacked and pried with tools to lift sections of segmented pavement at the Water Street dead end stub on Thursday morning to see the valuable earth underneath.
That dirt will eventually become an extension to downtown Peterborough’s Millennium Park and the Otonabee River Trail, with the help of various community organizations, including GreenUP’s Depave Paradise project.
Volunteers joined in an effort to clear up an unused section of road, which was formerly an entrance to the downtown No Frills parking lot, dating back to when it used to be a Canadian Tire store.
For years that entrance has been cut off, leaving a valuable section of space empty beside one of the downtown’s most important parks and trails.
Terry Guiel, executive director of the Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA), called the space an “unused, useless area that serves no purpose.”
Working with Peterborough GreenUP, the DBIA is spending $87,000 to reclaim the space and add it to the park.
“The DBIA, with GreenUP, from day one have had copious amounts of community consultation and involvement in this project,” Guiel said.
The DBIA’s funding represents a small part of the community’s contributions from other groups, including Mortlock Construction and Battlefield Equipment, who provided gear and workers for free, the total in contributions is closer to $200,000, he said.
But this isn’t the end of plans to naturalize unused-urban areas.
This is the first of three annual projects by those organizations to identify and reclaim paved areas and return them to green spaces.
Dawn Pond, one of the organizers of the project through GreenUP, said she wants the community to help identify areas that could be recovered.
People can do that by sharing pictures of those places on social media with the hashtag #DepaveMe.
While some areas may be unfeasible to greenify, Pond said, it’s great to have people thinking about the places they live and how they want to see them.
“It supports the cause of making Peterborough more green,” she says of the community’s efforts.
She also says there are “a lot of these underused spaces that are neglected and in a wasted area” that can be restored.
John MacMillan-Jones, who was cycling the area as the pavement was first being sliced up on Wednesday, said he goes through the area every day in his commute.
“It’s a great community project and the end result is going to be phenomenally better than what we have now,” MacMillan-Jones said.
Volunteers rip up pavement in an unused section of road by Millennium Park in Peterborough. The section will be reclaimed as waterfront park space with greenery planted.