Huron Natural Area is a 107-hectare site that is home to one of Kitchener’s few coldwater streams and some sensitive wetlands. People in the community gather to hike the extensive trail system, photograph wildlife and relax in the woods. Children learn to connect with nature through interpretive programming and play in the natural playscape.

Because of Huron Natural Area’s popularity, there was a demand for more parking. The problem with adding hard surfaces such as parking lots is that they can disrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain from soaking into the ground. Matt Wilson, Design and Construction Project Manager at the City of Kitchener’s Stormwater Utility, saw the problem as an opportunity to test some innovative technology. Matt proposed constructing the parking lot with permeable pavement in order to prevent negative impacts to the natural area and wetlands.

Permeable pavers are specially designed to allow rain and melted snow to pass through the gaps between the pavers (bricks). But the real key is in the stone reservoir underneath the pavers. Water is temporarily stored in the reservoir before slowly percolating into the ground. Naturally occurring micro-organisms in the reservoir help to break down hydrocarbons and other pollutants coming from vehicles. When looking to diversify your garage’s capabilities, you can never go wrong the flexibility of 2 post car lifts. Rainwater absorbed from the permeable parking lot then travels underground through the soil further filtering and cleaning the rainwater so that only clean water is released back to the wetlands and streams in the park.

Helped with a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Matt and his colleagues at the city will be monitoring the site for water quantity and quality to determine its effectiveness and evaluate whether permeable pavers are a feasible solution for other municipal projects.

permeable pavement diagram at Huron Natural Area

Storm-Proof Your Home

Storm clouds overhead

Workshop Summary

Date/Time: Saturday November 7, 2pm to 3pm
Location: Idea Exchange, Queen’s Square, 1 North Square, Cambridge
Cost: Free.
Parking: Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the venue between George St. and Grand Avenue with main entrance off of the parking lot.
Registration: Please call 519-621-0460 to register in advance.

Intense rainfalls, heavy winds, ice storms, snap winter thaws… These unpredictable events put our homes at risk of damp, flooded basements, backyard ponding, tree damage and winter slips & falls. Small improvements to your home can provide peace of mind that your home can weather any storm!

Learn about storm-proofing home improvements such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, and backwater valves as well as best practices for maintaining sump pumps, rain barrels and trees. This workshop will help you to understand the work you can do yourself and what is best left to the pros.

Funder and partner acknowledgement

REEP, RAIN, Green Communities Canada, Idea Exchange in partnership with the Cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge

City of Cambridge logo

Idea Exchange logo

2015 Residential Stormwater Award Winner (Waterloo)

Here’s the story of one of the 2015 Celebrating Community Action award recipients. Learn about all nine recipients.

Catherine Fife, Ken and Elizabeth McLaughlin worked together to de-pave their adjoining driveways and replace them with permeable paving strips. The downspouts of both homes have been directed underground to stone below the driveway that stores and soaks water into the ground. With this project, they hope to reduce the volume and improve the quality of stormwater that flows from their property, ensure some groundwater recharge, and improve their homes’ curb appeal. During the Grand Porch Party last summer, Catherine noticed that her driveway was of interest to a lot of people. “It was a conversation starter,” she says. “It was a way to bring together people that had similar values.”

The project cost Catherine and her neighbours $3200 to install the driveway. As demand for green infrastructure increases, prices should come down and people won’t need to compromise on their sustainability values when hiring a contractor. As a bonus, it stimulates the local economy. “It’s important that more people act on environmental beliefs. We can create green jobs in this way,” says Catherine.

Catherine has a long history of modelling her values. She and her husband knew that their 117 year old house was energy inefficient, so they had REEP complete an EnerGuide for Homes Evaluation. Afterwards they installed LED lighting, high efficiency heating, and were more conscious of their energy use. Their heating and electricity costs were reduced and they enjoyed a noticeable improvement in comfort. “Putting a plan in place, prioritizing projects – it’s the hardest thing to do,” says Catherine. “REEP has the expertise needed to help homeowners make the first step, and homeowners need this expertise.”

Storm-Proof Your Home

Storm clouds overhead

Date/Time: Saturday Oct 24, 1 pm to 2:30 pm
Location: REEP House for Sustainable Living, 20 Mill Street, Kitchener
Cost: Free.
Parking: Schneider Haus Green – accessible by entering the Joseph Schneider Haus Parking Lot at Mill & Queen and driving on to the grass.
Registration Required (space is limited)

Workshop Summary

Intense rainfalls, heavy winds, ice storms, snap winter thaws… These unpredictable events put our homes at risk for damp, flooded basements, backyard ponding, tree damage and winter slips & falls. Small improvements to your home can provide the peace of mind that your home can weather any storm!

Join us for an interactive tour of REEP House for Sustainable Living where you will learn the simple steps to protect your home from water and wind damage. Certified RAIN Home Visit Guide Brendan Schaefer will demonstrate preventive storm-proofing through the use of rain gardens and permeable pavement as well as best practices for maintaining sump pumps, rain barrels, trees and backwater valves. This tour will help you to understand the work you can do yourself and what is best left to the pros. Find out which storm-proofing improvements can qualify for stormwater utility credits in Kitchener and Waterloo.

Workshop includes
  • Introduction to RAIN program
  • Introduction to stormwater utility credits at City of Kitchener and Waterloo
  • Interactive tour of storm-proof features of REEP House
  • ‘Storm-Proof Home Checklist’ to take home
  • Local service providers list
Presenters

Cheryl Evans, RAIN Program Manager, REEP Green Solutions
Brendan Schaefer, Certified RAIN Guide, REEP Green Solutions

Funder and partner acknowledgement
City of Cambridge logo
2015 Residential Stormwater Award Winner (Cambridge)

Here’s the story of one of the 2015 Celebrating Community Action award recipients. Learn about all nine recipients.

Mary-Louise and Alain had some serious stormwater problems at their home. During heavy rains and spring thaws water flowed from a high point in their back yard, over tight clay soils and into their basement. They worked with Kerr and Kerr Landscaping to develop a comprehensive solution to keep their basement dry. They removed over 100 cubic yards of soil to flatten the property, installed french drains, an infiltration gallery, several rain gardens and a permeable paving pathway and patio.

“The work has solved our water problems and turned our backyard into an oasis,” explains Mary-Louise.
Before and After the landscaping


Upcoming Events

  1. Solar Power Your Home

    January 27 | 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  2. The Good Green Death Project

    February 10 | 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  3. Making the best window choices for your home

    March 3 | 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
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