As a city kid lucky enough to grow up in a home with a nearly quarter-acre yard on an old Mill Woods lot, I was resigned to the fact that when I moved out, there was no way I’d end up in something so spacious again. But moving into a suburb home along a City of Edmonton stormwater pond meant I actually got more room to roam — I just had to share it.
At first, like many of the other 99 stormwater ponds, City workers meticulously maintained it, cutting grass right up to the reeds. Then, in 2020, the grass-cutting crews stopped, in part due to COVID-based financial pressure. And at first, I hated it, as did many people — the City increased its parks and sports fields lawn-cutting schedule from every three weeks to every two, in response to a large complaint increase, but left many stormwater ponds alone. So the one behind my house grew lush and full — and then it grew on me.
They say a view is always worth paying for, and now we’re getting more natural beauty for our bucks. Geese have always stopped by in spring and fall, but now we have more red-winged blackbirds and mallards making the surrounding area their homes. I’ve even seen a sandhill crane checking the place out from atop the reeds.
Sure, now we have to walk along the naturally carved walking path (the actual term is “desire path”) instead of wherever we want. But there’s something special about walking among nature instead of all over it.
So while it wasn’t explicitly a design decision, we’re still saying kudos to the City of Edmonton for letting the stormwater ponds flourish. The suburbs have sprawled enough. Let’s bring more nature back in.