New funding announced this week from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), included $750,000 grant that will help the City of Kitchener, Ontario incorporate state-of-the-art stormwater management features at the new RBJ Schlegel Park.
Kitchener’s investment in green infrastructure is intended to forward a reputation for leadership in environmental sustainability and improve watershed health by minimizing stormwater runoff into the downstream system.
“RBJ Schlegel Park will provide many recreational facilities and play areas for Kitchener residents,” said area MP Marwan Tabbara. “I am very pleased that it will include innovative green infrastructure that will be supported financially by our government’s municipal green infrastructure program. Well-managed cities like Kitchener are important partners in climate action.”
“We’re committed to building a culture of sustainability and including this type of infrastructure is the new standard, which cities like ours must look at,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “In addition to adding to the park’s amenities, showcasing the environmental benefits of low impact development (LID) at RBJ Schlegel Park will hopefully inspire other businesses and organizations to include similar LID infrastructure at their locations, so that together, we can protect our community against the impacts of climate change.”
The green infrastructure system will manage stormwater with features like rain gardens in the parking areas, infiltration galleries under the artificial turf playing fields, bioswales and oil/grit separators to remove debris and treat road run-off, and a rock infiltration trench located under a dry retention pond. Stormwater will also be contained on site, minimizing impacts to the environment by replenishing groundwater resources and reducing the chances of flooding.
“Not only do rain gardens and bioswales help protect the environment, they will also add to the natural beauty of this fantastic park,” said Ward 5 Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock. “The natural vegetation provides habitats for birds and animals, which residents can enjoy while using the trails, playground, and picnic areas.”
This investment aligns with the city’s integrated stormwater management master plan, which outlines guidelines and policies that dictate how the city will manage stormwater over the next 15 years.