The Greening of Riley Park

Residents of Riley Park share a quaint lending library, honey from communal beehives, and, now, responsibility for the planet. The new Project Green Bloc aims to bring these mindful neighbours together to reduce their ecological footprint by 25 percent in three years-the first such community reduction plan in Canada.

In developing Green Bloc’s proposal, area resident (and former David Suzuki Foundation communications director) Jim Boothroyd took cues from “An Urban Meta-bolism and Ecological Footprint Assessment of Metro Vancouver.” The 2013 study revealed that in a city of gourmets, almost half of our footprint is a byproduct of the food production machine. “I was looking to encourage people to begin to address climate change and hyperconsumption on a very local basis,” he says.

A proposal for a tool library is in the works, as is greening a laneway. Roadways are being assessed for urban farming (less pavement, more potatoes). Some locals have even given over their lawns to communal veggie gardens.

More districts will likely follow suit if this pilot takes off. City hall, with funding in hand, is confident. To be the greenest city by 2020 just takes one neighbourhood at a time.