District of North Vancouver is using a new way to help healthy trees to grow and improve rainwater quality flowing in and around sidewalks and pavers. The new technology is being tried as DNV plants new trees along Gallant Avenue and around the Deep Cove Culture Centre plaza.
Silva Cells are modular units placed around tree pits to help large amounts of soil remain uncompacted while supporting the sidewalks above. The open design of the cells enables roots to grow well and for water to flow underground.
The soil-cell system will help improve local water quality as it retains and filters stormwater – water from rain or melting snow that isn’t directly absorbed into the ground because of roads and other hard surfaces – before it enters nearby Gallant Creek.
Silva Cells have been used in DNV parks projects such as Seylynn Park, but this is the first time the system has been installed beneath a sidewalk.
“This project was ideal to use Silva Cells in order to prevent re-occurrence of the significant buckling that the sidewalks in this location had previously experienced,” says Wendelin Jordan, Project Manager, Gallant Avenue Storm Sewer Replacement. “We know that trees along Gallant are important to residents and wanted to do what we could to encourage vigorous, healthy growth of the new trees.”
“As we learn more about these systems, we will be looking for future opportunities to encourage strong and healthy streetscape trees while filtering and retaining rainwater. Projects like this support our efforts to adapt and prepare the municipality for the impacts of more extreme seasonal weather and more intense storm events.”