Parksville's first rain garden
The City of Parksville’s first formal, city sponsored rain garden was busy filtering this weekend’s rain.
The recently completed garden in front of the newly expanded fire hall takes in all the rain running off the parking lot and, like nature, holds some of it in the soil to water the plants and filters the rest through sand as it slowly enters the ground.
Coun. Marc Lefebvre, speaking on behalf of mayor and council, said they were very excited to have the garden and they’d like to see more. He thanked Faye Smith, Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society (MVIHES) coordinator, for proposing and leading the project.
“Rainwater pouring into storm drains from our streets, parking lots and other hard surfaces has a devastating effect on our streams and shorelines,” Smith said. “Not only does the pollution in the water harm fish and other aquatic life, the volume of water that flows through the pipes during a heavy rainfall causes erosion and destroys critical habitat.”
Built by MVIHES and the city, with grants from The Nature Trust of BC and Pacific Salmon Foundation, the garden is meant as a show-piece for the city, but other gardens do not have to be as fancy, explained consultant Nigel Gray.
The garden includes local native vegetation and is meant to grow into a natural looking, manicured green area.
While there is a storm drain at the low point, it is only emergency back-up, with buried storage tanks meant to hold and slowly release as much run-off as the parking lot can produce.
The captured runoff can contain dirt, fertilizer, chemicals, oil and other pollutants which are filtered out in the rain garden. Water safely percolates into the ground where it recharges groundwater aquifers and contributes to stream flow in dry periods.
Check the MVIHES website at http://mvihes.bc.ca for more on rain gardens.