By Mike Jiggens
KWANTLEN Polytechnic University’s school of horticulture recently
contributed to a community building initiative as 30 students, staff
and faculty worked more than 300 hours to install a green roof for the
Salvation Army’s “Gateway of Hope” building in Langley, B.C.
“The green roof installation project at the Gateway of Hope building was a great thing to be a part of,” said Kwantlen horticulture student Alexis Wiessler. “The hands-on experience and exposure to new and modern branches of horticulture are incredible, not to mention the feeling of warmth that comes from being part of such a good and charitable community project.”
The green roof is expected to provide a number of benefits, including an extension of the roof membrane’s life, moderating stormwater runoff, increasing building energy efficiency, and improving the rooftop view for residents. The students have also planted native species in the adjacent riparian zone to re-establish biodiversity and suppress invasive plants.
Maple Ridge resident and horticulture student Sherilyn Gale remarked, “We were able to work on both a river riparian as well as assist in the installation of a live roof. This project provided practical experience that enabled me to learn the importance of sustainability and its significance to the community’s future well being.”
The community project was an example of Kwantlen’s reputation for providing real world experiences for its students and practical skills for employment.
“We felt that the project provided excellent educational value and an opportunty to contribute to a community building initiative,” said horticulture instructor Michelle Nakano. “Green roof technology and ecological restoration in urban settings demonstrate a more sustainable approach to urban landscapes, and students benefit from being exposed to these applications in a real-life context.”
The Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope building is a modern, state-of-the-art facility for the homeless and at-risk population in Langley. The three-storey development provides 30 emergency shelter beds and 25 supportive independent living transitional beds for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness in the community.