A former landfill in Winnipeg is getting a new purpose as volunteers create a forest: Winnipeg

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An open lawn in Winnipeg’s St. Vital neighborhood was once a landfill, but after 60 years a group of volunteers are taking the lead to find another use for the area.

This past weekend, volunteers spent time transforming Marlene Street Park, starting with planting 1,000 trees.

Some said the idea is to change the way places like this are viewed.

“I think the fact that there was a landfill here at all is emblematic of our attitude toward rivers at that time,” said Ryan Palmquist, director of Save our Seine.

“We literally see them as a dumping ground.”

He added that while the waste itself is not dumped at the former landfill, the existing grass does not have much ecological value. Trees then planted would help keep the soil healthy and absorb rainwater, preventing rainwater from leaking – causing toxic material from the landfill to pollute the nearby river.

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“We will dramatically reduce the amount of water that seeps into the former landfill and ends up in our freshwater,” Plamquist said.

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A project like this, which converts the space into a viable forest, aims to eventually bring in more wildlife. The intention is to help the area grow a diverse tree canopy in the coming decades.

For those who participate, it’s also a great opportunity to learn more about biodiversity – at least, according to Dr. Anju Bajaj.

“We have to teach them young. So when they come after about 10 to 15 years, they see the importance of it,” said Bajaj, board member of Save our Seine.

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“We hope that across the board, all forms of life that coexist here in the city and that live in our urban ecosystem… will all benefit from this project,” Plamquist said.

– with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian

Click to play video: 'A Winnipeg developer has rejected an offer to buy the Lemay Forest.  Lawyers are now calling on Tochal Developments Group In.  CEO Mazyar Yahyapour for a meeting.”

A Winnipeg developer has rejected a bid to buy the Lemay Forest. Lawyers are now calling on Tochal Developments Group In. CEO Mazyar Yahyapour for a meeting.

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