Qualico Staff Get Their Hands Dirty to Beautify the Landscape
Winnipeg, MB & Surrey, BC – The Qualico Communications team and a group from StreetSide Developments and Foxridge Homes BC each headed outdoors via the Qualico Volunteer Day program and got their hands a little dirty for a good cause.
In BC, 13 employees from the Surrey Regional Office took the time to visit and clean up Harper Park, Coquitlam’s newest park, located near Burke Mountain and the business units’ newer project sites.
James Allen, Senior Project Manager, Foxridge Homes BC, and the Volunteer Day committee in BC organized and arranged the May 26th afternoon clean up as part of the City's Park Spark program. The initiative encourages volunteers to sign up and get involved in cleaning up litter in Coquitlam’s parks.
Harper Park is near Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, and as an urban nature park, its trails run through the second-growth forest on Burke Mountain. Expanded by an additional 10.8 acres in 2019, the total park size is now about 27 acres or 11 hectares.
The team split up and covered just about all near 11 acres of the newer park area.
“Harper Park was surprisingly clean maybe due to it being a slightly newer park, but each time someone found something to pick up, we celebrated,” said Amie Tran, Marketing Manager, StreetSide Developments BC. “Developers and homebuilders, especially in Metro Vancouver where housing is expensive, are often perceived by the public as being ‘big, bad, greedy developers.’ Through volunteer opportunities like this and by giving back to the communities in which we build helps show that we do care about the residents and neighbourhood. Overall, we just want to make the city a better place to live.”
The clean-up was ultimately cut short due to a few bears making an appearance to have a look at what everyone collected at the group’s meet-up spot. The bear and her cubs rummaged through a few of people’s things, including the collected garbage bags and even hand sanitizer. It was a reminder to the group about the impact the initiative has.
“Having a mama bear and her cubs show up highlights how our efforts in cleaning up this park make a difference not only for the people who reside close by, but wildlife as well,” said Kyle Foot, Development Manager, StreetSide Developments BC.
In Winnipeg, the Communications team literally stuck their hands in some dirt to help St.Amant with planting its annual flower beds for the organization’s walkway that leads up to the entrance.
St.Amant is a not-for-profit organization located across the river from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. The organization supports and makes a positive impact for over 2,200 people in Manitoba with developmental disabilities, autism and acquired brain injury, and it offers a wide range of supports for adults, children and their families.
“I’ve heard about the great things St.Amant does for our Winnipeg communities in providing accommodations and care for those with developmental disabilities, but I didn’t know how large of an operations and footprint it had,” said Manny Goossen, Communications & Marketing Specialist, Qualico. “I’m thankful we were able to visit the wonderful people there, experience their hospitality, and offer a hand to create a colourful entrance for everyone to enjoy.”
Watering flowers and giving the thumbs-up in the background above is Ray, St.Amant’s groundskeeper and legendary employee with many roles over his 40 years working there.
After making it to the end of the path, the team played a guessing game to see how many flowers they planted during their time. Colleen Holloway, Director of Communications and Corporate Responsibility, Qualico, used every ounce of her power gardening skills to come out on top, only 20 or so off the count. In total, the trio planted 441 flowers.
To end the afternoon, the team toured the property with the Executive Director of St.Amant, Juliette, and learned about the great sponsorships and programming the organization offers and the effort it takes to maintain the grounds year-round.
There were no surprise bear appearances during this experience… though the tour provided plenty of drama as the team drove a golf cart at top speeds around the campus, speed bumps and dirt roads galore. The ride doubled as a trust exercise with Manny at the wheel, Juliette riding shotgun and Colleen and Anders, Communications & Marketing Specialist, holding on for dear life in the back seat.
One stop on the tour included the impressive Spirit Cottage and its backyard pool for St.Amant and community use. The Spirit Cottage is a 2,400-sq.ft. house adjacent to St.Amant on the banks of the Red River that is used to provide an accessible getaway for all people supported by St.Amant and their families. Qualico was one of the major gift donors in 2013 that contributed towards the $1-million project, which officially opened in 2014 and has seen incredible demand ever since. Read more about that major donation here.
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