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Southdale Green Area Creation a Huge Success!

Project type: 
Community Initiatives Green Funds

Southdale Community Creates Green Gathering Space

Group Photo

Event Reporter: Linda Weedmark

On a beautiful Saturday in May, residents of Southdale Community Housing worked together to create a new green gathering space with trees, shrubs, and stone seating. Eager participants, including many children who live in the family complex converged on the area to help plant, mulch and water.  

Woman and kids digging

"It's great for the community because now residents will have some place to sit. It will bring the community together," said Lorraine McColl, a teacher at Laurier who attended the event.

Residents interviewed seemed to agree that it is "excellent", a "great improvement" and that they will use the new green space. Resident Chris said "It's going to make the complex look better and people will respect it and clean up. It'll make it stand out when people drive by." He said that the area might be used for barbecues and family get togethers with the people in the neighbourhood.

Tom Ebert of Little Creek Tree Farm provided the trees for the event. "It is a great thing that everyone gets involved, that they take ownership and do well. It's a good way to get everybody together," he said.  

"I think that it's a great idea," said Bob Sexsmith, Board of Directors of London Middlesex Housing Corporation, which owns and manages the property. Men Unloading Tree

"The hidden benefit is they've got rocks around it and with trees, it will not take a lot of damage. The kids will defend the trees from anybody climbing on them or bending them over. There's a pride of ownership and where you live, when you can see the results of your work. I think we have to give back to the community so the community cares. There are too many living on their own and not part of something. It could encourage people to look at the green space around the residences. They might want to take care of the lawns and flowers where they're living."


Kids Pose with ShovelsYoung Boys PoseTeens and Kids

Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, face painting, and country music pouring forth helped create an easy, green-friendly atmosphere. Workers were treated to a BBQ and watermelon as the work was finished. Organizations supporting the event were the London Middlesex Housing Corporation, London Community Chaplaincy, Families First - CAPC, Laurier Secondary School, NRAWP, and ReForest London.

Children ActivityJulie Ryan of ReForest London took the mic and questioned the children in the crowd about the benefits of the tree planting today. Some examples that the children gave were that it is good for biodiversity and shade, a place for birds and wildlife to live, and it will make things nicer. A sign-up sheet was available for volunteering to water the trees that were planted so they will be taken care of and flourish.

ReForest London hopes to do more planting at Southdale in the future. A map of the complex was provided and residents were asked to mark with a dot by their unit where they want a tree planted there. More resident input will be sought this summer, and the requests will be assessed and more trees planted in the fall and next spring.

Southdale Community Working Together

Gabriele Sanio, Project Leader with ReForest London, explained to the audience that the trees being planted were native trees, which include Silver Maple, Hackberry, Tulip tree, Bur Oak, and Basswood. She outlined their potential for size and longevity, and how they work together. "Some trees will outlive all of us, taking 150 years to grow," she explained. 

Generous funding for this project was provided by City of London's TreeME grant and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.  

The new green area is expected to bring the community together. Judging by today's attendance, it seems a real possibility.  

"Everybody's talking."  


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