The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) is calling all community volunteers to roll up their sleeves and join in the beautification efforts for Gates Lake Community Park in Birken on Saturday (Aug. 27), as part of the Gates Lake Community Park Planting Project.
Volunteers need only bring themselves and a pair of gardening gloves — and a small shovel, if they have one — to the event, set to take place from 9 a.m. to noon.
“Gates Lake Park is an important amenity for nearby residents,” said SLRD recreation services manager Angela Barth. “There aren’t a lot of parks in that area. There aren’t a lot of recreation areas. It’s a great project that will help make Gates Lake Community Park an even more valuable gathering place.”
These beautification efforts are being made possible by the $9,767.82 in funding that the SLRD was granted in May by the CN EcoConnexions from the Ground Up program for landscaping enhancements to the 1.27 hectare park. This funding is being matched by the SLRD for the project, as well.
The CN EcoConnexions from the Ground Up program provides funding for municipal properties across the country, particularly in communities where CN operates.
“Part of the grant’s mandate is to have community engagement,” explained Barth in reference to the SLRD’s call for volunteers.
Saturday’s planting extravaganza will see 21 Douglas maples and 243 shrubs and ground covers — including serviceberry, red twig dogwood, thimbleberry, snowberry, red huckleberry and Wood’s rose — planted in the park, located on the shores of Gates Lake.
The trees especially will be helpful to maintain screening, shade and erosion control in the park.
Volunteers needn’t worry about the heavy lifting, either. “Most of the plants are relatively small,” explained Barth.
Landscapers from the Gardener’s Yard Inc. will also be preparing the park for a day of family-friendly volunteerism by digging the holes where the plants will be placed prior to the Saturday morning event.
Saturday’s planting of native species is the second phase of the project’s planting plan — developed by the SLRD in cooperation with Tom Barratt Ltd. Landscape Architects —and comes following the aeration, fertilizing and top dressing of the park’s open lawn area that has already been completed this summer.
At 10:30 a.m., SLRD Electoral Area C director Russell Mack will be on hand to lead an official welcome and thank you ceremony for community volunteers and program funders.
Special guests at the three-hour planting blitz will also include Emile Scheffel, CN Rail’s community affairs lead for B.C.; François Boucher, CN Rail’s general superintendent for B.C. South; Doug Buchanan, CN Rail’s assistant superintendent; Bart MacMillan, CN Rail’s community services officer and Berta Briggs, a national judge from Communities in Bloom.
Volunteers will also be treated to snacks and refreshments following the official ceremony.
To learn more about Gates Lake Community Park, go to slrd.bc.ca/GatesLakeCommunityPark.