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There Are Good Things Happening In My Community  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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This thread will document some of the positive things that are being done to improve public space and make it more sustainable.

I'm in Victoria British Columbia, Canada. Feel free to post stories and photos of good things that are going on where you live.

No doubt, some will see every change as too little, too late. There are plenty of threads down in drivel, where complaints of this nature are welcome. I'd like this topic to deal with positive improvements that have been done or that are in some stage of development.
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A new hugelkultur community orchard was planted in Vic West last Sunday. It's beside a community center that boarders a park and hiking trails. Work was started about 6 weeks ago.
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Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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The wood is mostly maple and plum. It was supplied by the city crews that maintain trees in parks and along streets.

A cover crop of clover is doing well.

Some really nice gates let people in while keeping deer out.
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Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
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Three of these electric buses began tours of the downtown this summer. They got off to a rocky start fighting red tape but I'm sure they will eventually displace some of the very dirty double decker old British buses that run around 1/4 filled. The electric buses are easy to get on and off of and they don't impede other traffic. Batteries are under the seats and each wheel has a motor. !4 passengers can ride in a vehicle about the size of a full sized pick up truck. 100 km or 60 miles on a charge.

I took a ride in the front seat of one and conducted a guided tour in my best announcer's voice. I gave them some history and some environmental stuff when we toured a park. The driver pointed out bars where he likes to go on dates. Whenever he volunteered such information, I told the audience that those GUYS had a really good time on those dates. I asked the driver to squish a squirrel and told everyone a joke about their home country (tourists). The driver got his best tips in three days, during that half hour and I enjoyed having the captive audience.
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Julia Winter
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Posts: 2044
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
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Thanks for sharing these "green shoots!" The orchard is lovely and I especially love the swale. In Dane County Wisconsin they've put in rules saying that all rainwater has to be kept on site for new developments, but nobody has figured out that the resulting swales can be planted in diverse perennials. They just dig a big hollow and plant it in turf, which they mow. When a school near our house in Waunakee improved a parking lot, they did a nice job draining the hard surface into a swale, and it was planted with various "rain garden" perennials, but the maintenance guys just mowed it, repeatedly, and all the perennials succumbed to turf.

Sigh.

Here in Portland Oregon I see a lot of nice swales that the city put in, planted in reeds and rushes.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Development permits here, require that owners either hire a landscaper or follow a plan drawn up by someone qualified.

The new WalMart had to include lots of green space. The roof is a parking lot and there's more green space up there.

A wall of plants cover the side of the stairs.

Bamboo pokes up from the underground parking.

A picnic area and kid's water park are near the entrance.
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Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I was in the west end of Vancouver on Monday. Picked up a really nice laptop in near new condition with Windows 7 Ultimate for $200.

The west end is western Canada's densest urban environment, but it's very livable with lots of street trees, roof top gardens clean beaches and the 1000 acre Stanley Park right next door.

This community garden is right in the thick of things.
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Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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These are lovely, thank you! I'm going to keep an eyes out for wonderful things happening here. I might know more if I got myself off the farm sometimes.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Artificial wetlands are being used to filter water from some streets. Water soaks the soil where it is needed for roadside trees. The cost of these installations is offset by a reduction in the need for larger storm sewers and associated maintenance. Even a light rain, can give trees a good watering since the catchment area is large.
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Dale Hodgins
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This "beach" is not beside water. It was constructed to absorb runoff from the sidewalk.

There are signs that explain what is being done. A map shows where to find similar structures throughout the city.
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Dale Hodgins
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The walls of this building supply were covered in graffiti. A big graffiti party may have solved the problem. I heard loud music and stumbled upon this. There were many spectators and someone brought a barbecue.

Many overgrown street trees are pollarded rather than cut down completely. Hundreds of trees on many streets are given this treatment. It's much cheaper than replacement and hooligans can't bend them over as often happens with skinny transplants. A year later, there is plenty of shade again. Tree trimmings are usually left on the roadside long enough for firewood hounds to clean up the good stuff.
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Dale Hodgins
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Hillside Rd. and Yates St. are both major arteries. Both are being drained into rain gardens. The sites in the photos are in places where thousands pass them each day.
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Dale Hodgins
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Back yard chicken raising has become widely accepted. I was in one yard that had many more than the legal limit. Both of her neighbors put their table scraps in little buckets Hung on the fence.

The garbage rules changed a year ago and organic materials must be sorted.

These chicken tractors are for sale at the Home Hardware along a busy street.
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Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Our local department of transportation was the receipt of some art by a local college a number of years ago. The college recycled used road signs into a flower installation and also into a mural of things that our county is known for. Pretty neat looking, I think. The flowers are my favorite.
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Large flower art from used road signs
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Mural from used road signs
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Another picture from the mural
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
252
 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Sahoshi sometimes gets plants and soil from my jobs. He has little parks and friends with gardens all over town that he supplies with plants. His home used to be a store and lacks a front yard. The boulevard is nicely done each year. It will peak in June. The edging is salvaged granite counter top material. Every Christmas, I get a call from the Victoria Garden somethingorother, thanking me for the donations.

I stopped in to see his activities and the next day a customer called to see if I could rebuild a vinyl covered deck. Not my specialty, but I'm doing it with Sahoshi tomorrow. If we hadn't met on Saturday, I might have just passed up the work.
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Dale Hodgins
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Many little free book exchanges have popped up. They get more donations than will fit. These are sent to charity stores. Last summer I saw one with a basket beneath. It contained bunches of herbs and cut flowers. Neighbors donate their surplus. I leave notes concerning free wood and plants at nearby jobs. It works.

The free stop, is built into a residential fence and maintained by that family. Clothing, toys and school supplies are some of the items available. Children outgrow things that are not worn out. It's right across the street from a high school.
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Dale Hodgins
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This little library is the first one on the new registry that the public library has started. You can now search a map that shows where to find them all.

The owner is posing with my new book. It's a book of world figures. A quick reference that I'll use to refute made up statistics. I forgot her name, but she knows that her photo is being posted.
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Samuel Paré
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Location: Québec, QC
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Some of these were taken on princess st yes? Good memories
 
Dale Hodgins
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This is one of Victoria's many boulevard gardens. It's at the corner of San Jose and Niagara. People who spend time in the garden, are less likely to go postal.

For those who don't know the way to San Jose,  just head south on Oswego and turn left on Niagara. It's about four houses down on the right.
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r ranson
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Posts: 6016
Location: Left Coast Canada
749
books chicken tiny house
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Fantastic thread. Very inspiring.

Another shout out for Victoria. Our local library system started lending seeds last year as well as books. Victoria Seed Library The Seed Library also includes several free courses from basic gardening to how to save seeds (of course). It was a great success so they are doing it again this year.

Most of the seeds are donated by local seed companies, so they are already adapted to our climate.

Speaking about gardening, we also have a Seedy Saturday (with free seed and book exchange tables) coming up this month. Who knows, maybe I'll see you there Dale.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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R Ranson wrote:Fantastic thread. Very inspiring.

Another shout out for Victoria. Our local library system started lending seeds last year as well as books. Victoria Seed Library The Seed Library also includes several free courses from basic gardening to how to save seeds (of course). It was a great success so they are doing it again this year.

Most of the seeds are donated by local seed companies, so they are already adapted to our climate.

Speaking about gardening, we also have a Seedy Saturday (with free seed and book exchange tables) coming up this month. Who knows, maybe I'll see you there Dale.


I missed Seedy Saturday and didn't know about the seed library. Good to know. We should share garden resources. Perhaps other members from Victoria would like to scrounge soil and compost from my jobs. Lots of firewood and hugelkultur wood available.
......
This rain garden captures run off at the Oak Bay library.
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r ranson
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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books chicken tiny house
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Seedy Saturday was great. Very crowded though, with an interesting mix of different demographics. It was great seeing people from different walks of life share common ground and chat about growing food.

The Seed Library is just getting started. Lots of time left to join, if that's your cuppa tea.

Speaking of scrounged materials... I want to try my hand at cob building this summer but desperately need clay (from a non-toxic site). Can trade fruits and/or Veg and/or seeds and/or llama berries for it. The plan is to build a short goat shelter with living roof, so that the goat can jump up and play on it or get inside and hide from the rain. It's going to be awesome... if we can find some clay... maybe if you come across some, you could think of us?
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I missed the free book exchanges - such a great idea
 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Dale Hodgins
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At the play park by the Gorge waterway, there's no need to bring ride on toys. It has become a drop off spot for the neighborhood.  The stuff can be used at the park or taken home. One guy let his little boy take home a fire truck.  They agreed that he would return the "ride on duck" the next day.

Whenever lots of kid's stuff is left behind at my jobs, I drop the stuff off here. Balls, rackets, bikes,  hula hoops and anything with wheels is welcome. A parent told me that when they accumulate too many of one type of toy, one of the mothers hauls a load to a thrift store in a distant part of town.  Toys R Us must hate it. These kids don't constantly bug their parents for more junk. When they outgrow things,  they are left at the park, for younger kids to enjoy.
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Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 563
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Good to know--we have the same rule here in Somerville MA, and they're seeking public input on the new library renovation and landscape design. I'll be sure to point out that just swaling isn't the point--shouldn't assume that people know what a swale is FOR even if they know what a swale IS.

Great to see positive things going on in your community Dale! I love BC, I'm actually named after Yoho originally but changed my name to blend in a bit more. I think it's great to have a thread about positive things going in our communities. Somerville has LOTS and LOTS of them. And it's not too-little-too-late, it's all good progress. Anyway, the Little Red Hen gets to eat the pie.


Julia Winter wrote:Thanks for sharing these "green shoots!" The orchard is lovely and I especially love the swale. In Dane County Wisconsin they've put in rules saying that all rainwater has to be kept on site for new developments, but nobody has figured out that the resulting swales can be planted in diverse perennials. They just dig a big hollow and plant it in turf, which they mow. When a school near our house in Waunakee improved a parking lot, they did a nice job draining the hard surface into a swale, and it was planted with various "rain garden" perennials, but the maintenance guys just mowed it, repeatedly, and all the perennials succumbed to turf.

Sigh.

Here in Portland Oregon I see a lot of nice swales that the city put in, planted in reeds and rushes.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Posts: 6681
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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These attractive lock boxes are springing up in local play parks. People donate all sorts of useful items, like frisbees, hula hoops, soccer balls Etc. The lock boxes are there to prevent young hooligans from damaging the toys at night. Anyone with a legitimate reason to go into the box, is given the code.

The large rain garden, absorbs runoff from nearby streets.
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