West Vancouver rain garden project honours work of tireless volunteer

West Vancouver residents are exercising their green thumbs in order to honour a community member and protect the environment at the same time.

On Oct. 19, the public is invited to help build a rain garden at Douglas Park, located beside the tennis courts on Douglas Street in Horseshoe Bay.

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The project, organized by the Western Residents Association, North Shore Rain Garden Project, District of West Vancouver, and other community members, pays homage to longtime West Vancouver resident Mary Bayes, who passed away last year.

“Mary was the epitome of community. Mary gave us her time, she gave us her self, she shared friendships, she shared wisdom, she truly was the heart of Horseshoe Bay,” said Kristi Merilees, manager of community relations and Communications at the District of West Vancouver. “She had been a staunch advocate for environmental causes. Apparently she walked through this park on a regular basis and had talked about a rain garden in the past.”

Bayes sat on numerous committees in West Vancouver and, among her numerous accolades she received due to her tireless volunteer work, she was awarded the District of West Vancouver Community Commitment Award in 2016.

The rain garden, which is slated to be called the Mary Bayes Rain Garden in her honour, is part of a larger initiative by the North Shore Rain Garden Project to install more of these green infrastructure features in North and West Vancouver.

Rain gardens, in addition to further beautifying an area, also help by partially absorbing and filtering rainwater and runoff before it has a chance to enter a storm water system, according to Rain Garden Project representatives.

“That area tends to attract a lot of moisture and the water tends to pool in that little park. This is going to help absorb some of that surface water and localize it to an area and make it easier for people to pass through there,” said Merilees.

The North Shore Rain Garden Project team gave its first public demonstration of a rain garden last month, when more than a dozen North Vancouver residents helped install one in the parking lot off Capilano Mall, adjacent to nearby Mackay Creek.

“The Western Residents Association is leading with a network of volunteers and there will be our stewardship volunteer program members there as well, but certainly any member of the public is welcome to come down,” said Merilees.

The rain garden building event is scheduled to run on Oct. 19 at Douglas Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s an example of the community coming together to share and to create something that is a lasting memory for a community member that was important,” said Merilees.

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