MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 18, 2011 –The Environment Committee of Royal West Academy in Montreal West is about to transform an unused parking lot on the school grounds into a sustainable, productive community green space.
The committee, which is made up of students from Grades 8 through 11 who are dedicated to protecting our natural environment, as well as raise awareness of a wide variety of environmental issues to the student body and the general public, held an information meeting on November 10 in the school auditorium to announce their latest ambitious environmental project.
The project is called “Park N’ Lot,” and is coordinated by Adrian Del Balso – who is a graduate of Royal West – and Emilie Langlois. The Environment Committee aims to take the asphalt-covered, fenced in parking lot, which is located on Ainslie Road behind the school building and measures 10 metres by 22 metres, and turn it into a multi-functional green space that will help reduce the heat island effect, as well as create a space for students to connect with nature and double as an outdoor classroom, and for the community in general to enjoy. There will also be a garden, where students and volunteers would organically grow food that will be available for sale at the school’s Environment Café, and which any surplus food will be donated to the NDG Food Depot.
The Environment Committee plans to have the asphalt surface painted over. Then fruit trees will be planted, and benches, seats and rolling planters will be added to the green space. According to Xavier Desilets, a social sciences teacher at Royal West who also serves as the Environment Committee’s staff advisor, he stated that the Park N’ Lot project should be completed by June of 2012.
A partnership is being sought between the Environment Committee, the EMSB, Action Communiterre and the City of Montreal West to keep the proposed green space maintained throughout the year, especially by volunteer gardeners from the community when the school is closed during the summer. The committee is also seeking funding for the project from several organizations, including TD Canada Trust’s Whole Kids Foundation, the Fondation des Amis de l’Environement, the Home Depot’s Growing Greener Communities Grant Program and the Metro Green Apple School Program.