Friday, 23 September 2016 04:14

New Go Green Friday partnership will help to green Swift Current

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Volunteers planted shrubs in a new plant garden next to 13th Avenue NE on Go Green Friday, Sept. 16. It is referred to as the yin-yang garden due to its shape. Volunteers planted shrubs in a new plant garden next to 13th Avenue NE on Go Green Friday, Sept. 16. It is referred to as the yin-yang garden due to its shape. Matthew Liebenberg

A new three-year partnership between Stark & Marsh and Innovation Credit Union will strengthen the existing Go Green Friday initiative in Swift Current.

The eight annual Go Green Friday on Sept. 16 was the first year of this new partnership between the two organizations in association with the City of Swift Current.
Go Green Friday was originally started in 2009 when Stark & Marsh was looking for a project that will make a difference in the community. The company had discussions with the City and  a need was identified for a fall clean-up.
Go Green Friday provides an opportunity for individual and corporate volunteers to help out with the beautification of open spaces around the city through clean-up projects and the planting of trees and shrubs.
Employees from Innovation Credit Union have participated in the event in previous years, but the company has made an additional commitment through this partnership. Stark & Marsh Director of Operations Darcy Congdon said Innovation Credit Union wanted to also contribute in a financial manner.
“It takes a lot of funds to purchase the materials to do the planting,” he mentioned. “So Innovation stepped up this year and they provided $10,000. Stark & Marsh kicked in another $5,000 and then in turn the City matches that. So we had a total of $30,000 that we were able to put towards the project so that we could get the materials, the trees, the shrubs, et cetera.”
A key focus of the partnership will be to contribute through Go Green Friday towards the beautification of the community in preparation for the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current.
“Today and then the next two years all these projects are really building towards the 2019 Western Canadian Summer Games,” he said. “So trying to beautify some of the areas where people are coming into the city and I think over the next couple of years with Andy’s team the planting is going to be some of the events sites where the activities are going to take place.”
According to City of Swift Current Manager of Parks and Open Space Andy Toth the volunteer efforts on Go Green Friday have already made a significant contribution to create a greener city.
“I would say from its inception in 2009 we probably planted over a thousand trees and we’ve also planted over a thousand shrubs,” he said. “That included shelter belts, Chinook Parkway, just anywhere we feel we can do some enhancement.”
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The additional helping hands on Go Green Friday make it possible for the City to achieve more than it normally can hope to do.
“We get an awful lot accomplished in a day with this volunteer group,” he said. “These are a lot of projects that we always have in the back of our mind, but we don’t always necessarily have the time to accomplish. So this day is just a fantastic day to do some of these projects.”
Congdon noted that the support for Go Green Friday has grown over the years and more volunteers have become involved.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “This is my fifth year doing this, and every year it has grown. I think my first year we were around 75 volunteers, last year we went 120, today we’re going to be north of 160 volunteers. It’s just a testament to our community and how important they think this project is, and we couldn’t be happier.”
This year volunteers worked at 11 sites around the city. They planted trees along Chaplin Street East, across from the Credit Union iplex, and they planted shrubs at two sites along 13th Avenue NE. They also helped with the revamp of the planted area at the Mayor's Grove rest area on the Chinook Parkway next to 13th Avenue NE.
“It was getting overgrown and it was one of our oldest planters,” Toth said about the Mayor's Grove site. “So we decided to revamp that planter and do some hardscaping to help minimize some of the maintenance cost of putting some drought tolerant material in there and material that will pretty much take care of itself.”
Other volunteers helped with flower bed maintenance at Riverdene Park and Kiwanis Park, while work at the canoe launch at Riverside Park continued.
“Last year was the first year that we went over there, and it was literally a path that was no more than two feet wide,” Congdon said. “The team got in and dug in, and they went up to their hip waders. It’s probably a 20-foot long launch area where you can put your canoe or kayak in and be able to enjoy the creek.”
Planting took place at the northwest corner of Highway No. 1 and 11th Avenue NW, while mulching and rock hauling took place at various sites. The Swift Current Creek Watershed Stewards again participated in Go Green Friday and volunteers were working on the riparian area at Elmwood Park that was planted in previous years.
“You can see the material that was planted I think three or four years ago really taking hold there,” he said. “So we just cleaned out some of the invasive species and we’re out at a second location on 7th Avenue NE, more on the north side of that inlet.”
People were able to support Go Green Friday at a barbecue that took place on Market Square at noon. It raised $1,106.25 and this amount was donated to the Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter's Dorie's House, which is currently under construction and will provide shelter to homeless youth.
“It’s such a tremendous community project that we’re just really happy to be able to help with that as well,” Congdon said.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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