Cleaning Up the Lakes in Fifth Avenue Estates


Fifth 02
Currently, stones line the edges of the lakes in Fifth Avenue Estates Fifth Avenue Estates

The services of Native Plant Solutions (NPS) have once again been called upon by Niverville’s town council. With new provincial guidelines regarding herbicide use in waterways, the lakes in Fifth Avenue Estates are becoming overgrown with weeds in the rip rap, the stone abutment used to armour the shore against erosion.

NPS will provide counsel on the best means to deal with weeds in a chemical-free manner. Consultation costs of almost $6,000 will be required to get answers.

“This design was not a problem at the time of construction,” says counsellor Chris Wiebe. “[It’s] become a problem due to the changes in provincial regulations. Residents have told us they don’t like seeing weeds. The weeds blow into their yards and make their yards unmanageable. With it being impossible to mow and chemical application not being an option, we need to look for another solution.”

One of the solutions, council believes, lies in Niverville’s recently remediated lagoon in Hespeler Park—bulrushes. NPS was deeply involved in the old lagoon’s transformation and the project has become renowned since then as a unique, sustainable, and environmentally friendly way of dealing with toxic waste. 

“Bulrushes are nature’s way of cleaning contamination out of waterways,” says Wiebe. “This would be a way to get in line with provincial guidelines for herbicide use and to reduce labour costs for maintaining the rock shoreline. In the future we may have to physically weed between the stones to eliminate the weeds. I feel that the goal of this project is to see if we can be fiscally and environmentally responsible.”

Wiebe adds that an established stand of bulrushes in the lakes will reduce the current maintenance costs of the shoreline while at the same time attracting more wildlife, especially birds—but not the annoyance of prolific migrating geese that have become a staple of the development.

“Another benefit [of bulrushes] is that geese have a tendency to avoid shorelines [that have them],” he says. “A concern of the residents is that of the geese and the mess they leave behind. Bulrushes act as a natural deterrent to geese as they are afraid of predators that could be hiding inside.”

Because there are so many varieties of bulrushes, NPS’s counsel should help the town understand which variety would best meet their needs. 

Council has further put aside a $4,000 contingency, allowing them to publicize their strategies and possibly rent a bus which could take affected residents on a tour of other developments that have created sustainable residential lake systems. The development of Pritchard Farms is one such example, located just north of Winnipeg in East St. Paul. 

At the close of NPS’s analysis and recommendations, council will create strategies and seek out companies for the design and construction of those changes to the lakes in Fifth Avenue Estates.

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