By Brian Burton
One of the outstanding commercial paver installations this year was in the City of Leamington, ON. The project, which involved a major installation of interlocking concrete pavers and retaining walls, was an excellent example of the acceptance and recognition of this form of hardscaping as an ideal choice for municipal upgrades. In this particular case, the city developed a well thought out plan that used interlocking concrete pavers to effectively link two major waterfront attractions, the municipal marina and a large public beach area, which together attract a tremendous number of tourists. City planners designed a very large, wide promenade, connecting the two attractions, which has quickly become a major attraction in itself.
The Leamington area attracts not only a spectacular migration of wildlife but also naturalists from around the world who come to witness this spectacle. More than 300 species of birds have been recorded in Point Pelee, the southern most point in Canada. The area is home to some species of plants that grow nowhere else in the country.
The shoreline, marshes, forests, open areas and temperate climate create the perfect habitat for a wide range of butterflies, flowers, mammals, birds, snakes and plant life.
Renowned as the Tomato Capital of Canada, Leamington is in an excellent location to explore the Lake Erie Islands. In particular, the Leamington waterfront attracts numerous tourists for pleasure boating, fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing and swimming. Seacliff Park, located just west of the Leamington Park, boasts a large public beach, which is connected directly to the promenade leading to the public marina.
Marina facilities, public or private, and busy tourist attractions like these ones in Leamington, must endure a tremendous amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic under all kinds of harsh Canadian weather conditions. Based on the cost related over the service life in these applications, concrete pavers are cheaper to install and maintain and provide superior in-service performance and reliability.
According to David R. Smith, director of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (an association that represents manufacturers and suppliers across North America), pavers are being selected for the following reasons:
- Excellent resistance to high volume traffic, abrasion and colour fading;
- Reduced construction time;
- Excellent resistance to deformation of the surface;
- Rapid drainage due to chamfered joints;
- Increased safety for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchairs;
- Reduced maintenance and repair costs;
- Can be removed and re-installed if required.
In recent years, recognition of the versatility, durability and superior performance of ICPs in North America has resulted in growing acceptance of the product and industry experts predict the industry will grow at the rate of five to 10 per cent annually.
For further information on the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) or for a list of ICPI members, call the ICPI at (202) 712- 9036, or write to the ICPI, P.O. Box, 23053, 55 Ontario St., Milton ON, L9T 4M0, E-mail: ICPI@bostromdc.com, Web: www.icpi.org/ICPI.
Brian Burton is a Member of the Standing Committee for Technical Evaluations for the Canadian Construction Materials Commission (NRC). He was recently engaged to develop Corporate Partnerships for Communities in Bloom, a nation-wide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting improvement in civic landscaping.