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National Post from Toronto, Ontario, Canada • 32

Publication:
National Posti
Location:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Page:
32
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

AL12 nationalpost.com NATIONAL POST, THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2008 The trend was to FOOTPRINT: in of pave the over name development greenery Kicking a keen sense of green to the curb One woman's tale of liberation from asphalt VANESSA FARQUHARSON Sense Sustainability James likes doing the hard things first, which is why, when it came to reducing her carbon footprint, she skipped right past the programmable thermostat and coffee thermos business and headed straight for the real green challenge selling her SUV and replacing the driveway with a garden. Well, technically speaking, the driveway still exists. But it's been completely covered in grass and surrounded with trees, bushes and other lush foliage. Up until now, the predominant trend in North American cities has been to pave over greenery with asphalt in the name of development. Thanks to the environmental movement, though, we're seeing the rise of organizations like depave based in Oregon and dedicated to "liberating the earth from the stranglehold of asphalt" as well as people like James, who seek to improve their home's curb appeal with plants rather than pavement.

The problem is, municipal governments aren't always ready to accommodate this. Last May, James a writer and illustrator who lives in Toronto applied to the City of Toronto for a permit to rip up her driveway and an official came over to inspect the property. She was informed that it was actually illegal in Toronto to get rid of a driveway, and also that it must be made of concrete, asphalt or interlock. Furthermore, she wouldn't be allowed to plant more than one tree. "I just thought, 'But that can't be so! That must be she said.

a "I'd done a fair bit of research, too, so when the guy told me that, I thought it was ridiculous, and it's even written on the website that we're supposed to be making driveways out of Franke James' driveway-turned-garden, desire to do environmental It all started when we decided to do the HARDEST THING FIRST. We knew that Changing is Good, BUT WAS THERE SOMETHING MORE? SOMETHING THAT WOULD REALLY change our But the CITy said "No!" "His ILLEGAL TO GET RID OF YOUR DRIVEWAY IN NORTH YORK: YouR DRIVEWAY MUST BE MADE OF CONCRETE, ASPHALT OK INTERLOCK AND YOU CANNOT PLANT MORE THAN ONE TREE. We decided to sell THE SUV And since we didn't have a car, we didn't need a driver We dreamed of replacing it with WOLD permeable materials." In the end, after getting bounced around by various representatives at City Hall, James finally reached an official in the mayor's office who agreed with her and, some time later, she got the permit. James was also informed that this project of hers would be the pilot for a revised by-law on green driveways. "The thing is, we didn't get rid driveway, we just made it disappear," ofthe she said.

"It's underneath a layer of PermaTurf, so it's still a load-bearing surface a bit like hollow Lego." The individual cells fit together in such a way that grass is able to grow between the spaces without getting crushed by a car's wheels. It therefore functions as a driveway, although James doesn't encourage people to park there and has put a few stones in place to block delivery trucks from pulling in. "If more people did this, it would save the city money," she said of the process, which cost her about $1,200 in total (but she got $14,000 1 from the sale of the car). "When you look 25 years down the road at how many people will be living here, how many 'We didn't get rid of the driveway, we just made it disappear' more hard surfaces will be built there'll be a lot more stormwater runoff and we'll have to build more water filtration plants. "But if we start using permeable materials for our driveways, that'll at least be a start." So far, James has had only positive reactions from friends and neighbours.

"I think everyone in the neighbourhood has found this to be a very entertaining process," she said. "It's really nice people we never really knew before are stopping and saying how much they like what we did." Now that the transformation from driveway to garden is complete, James is moving on to her next project: transforming the empty garage into a cottage. "With no car, we have no need for a garage," she said, "so we're hoping to turn it into an outdoor room, a bit like an urban cottage. Thankfully we don't need a permit for that." National Post COURTESY FRANKE JAMES bottom, was the product of a good and some lobbying. What How can that be?" 1 This cually BOTHERS MA queen conscience! You'll see less up here because there are over a million Toyota hybrids down here.

har HYBRID SYNERGY Inside each and every Prius, Camry Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid lies Toyota's innovative Hybrid Synergy Drive: a -efficient DRIVE gas engine and a powerful electric motor that work together to deliver up to less smog forming outstanding fuel efficiency, and optimal power. It's the result of over 40 years of Toyota hybrid innovation, and has become the reason why more than TOYOTA million people worldwide choose to drive a vehicle powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive'. cleaner. efficient. powerful: things better make a are with respect to comparisons against similarly equipped conventional gasoline powered vehicles Based on North American sales data, Federal hybridsynergydrive.ca Tier 2 engine emission standards and 2008 Natural Resources Canada Fuel Consumption Guide.

on global cumulative sales of Toyota Prius vehicles..

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