Naturalization at Airport Heights

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The City of St. John’s Naturalization program received federal and provincial cost-shared funding to address climate change and its impacts in our community. The goal of a naturalization program is to restore, protect, and enhance areas, features, and ecosystems of the natural environment within the City. This program will create 11.4 hectares of additional natural zones within municipally owned land in the City of St. John's.

Naturalization means restoring areas to more natural conditions using trees that are native to the area; these invite additional shrubs and flowering plants to repopulate these areas. Natural areas in the era of climate change are our buffer, which will protect us from changes in climate and invasive species.

Be part of the conversation of naturalization at Airport Heights by:

  • Participating in the Discussion Forum to share what is important for the City to consider in the process of naturalizing the proposed areas at Airport Heights.
  • Using the Mapping Tool to interact with the outline of the naturalization plan and provide your feedback.

The City of St. John’s Naturalization program received federal and provincial cost-shared funding to address climate change and its impacts in our community. The goal of a naturalization program is to restore, protect, and enhance areas, features, and ecosystems of the natural environment within the City. This program will create 11.4 hectares of additional natural zones within municipally owned land in the City of St. John's.

Naturalization means restoring areas to more natural conditions using trees that are native to the area; these invite additional shrubs and flowering plants to repopulate these areas. Natural areas in the era of climate change are our buffer, which will protect us from changes in climate and invasive species.

Be part of the conversation of naturalization at Airport Heights by:

  • Participating in the Discussion Forum to share what is important for the City to consider in the process of naturalizing the proposed areas at Airport Heights.
  • Using the Mapping Tool to interact with the outline of the naturalization plan and provide your feedback.
  • Follow up from Community Meeting

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    The City appreciates the engagement and feedback from residents through this site, emails, phone calls and the virtual information session held on August 18th. Below is a summary of what was heard and how it is being addressed in the path forward for the Denis Lawlor Park in Airport Heights.

    Residents agree that:

    • Natural areas provide important environmental and site-specific benefits, i.e., wind-blocking and shading.
    • Naturalization and tree planting create benefits.
    • An area behind the washrooms can be naturalized. Residents asked for consideration to refrain from blocking lines of sight towards the ballfield, and retain adequate sliding hill space.
    • The naturalized areas developed as part of the project should be protected and additional treed areas created.
    • Naturalized areas should be retained where possible in development process.
    • The City should continue to implement trees/naturalization projects (especially on trailways).

    Residents ask the City to:

    • Respect informal pathways.
    • Not to reduce existing seating (e.g., benches).
    • Understand and do not limit educational and recreational use.
    • Consider the inclusion of fruit trees, fruit shrubs, and flowering plants in the natural spaces.
    • Work with specialists to ensure best practices.
    • Consider sight lines from parking lot as some parents park and watch games in inclement weather.
    • Consider maintaining the line of sight from the parking lot to the dog park.

    Residents’ feedback was incorporated in the City’s envisioning of the naturalization site plan including designation of naturalized areas that won’t be planted with tall trees to retain lines of sight, and changes to set-backs. Check out the updated plan map and sightlines photos here.

  • Virtual Meeting on Naturalization at Airport Heights

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    A virtual information session will take place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 18 to further engage with the neighbourhood on the Denis Lawlor Park naturalization site plan.

    Register to attend:

    • Click here to register
    • Or Email Engage@StJohns.ca
    • Or Call 311 or 754-CITY (2489)
  • What We Heard on Naturalization

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    The City of St. John’s appreciates all the support and feedback on the proposed approach to incorporate natural areas in Buckmaster’s Circle, Mundy Pond, and Airport Heights.

    What We Heard

    Residents are in favour of natural areas as part of our City, based on environmental benefits and site-specific benefits such as wind-blocking and shading.

    For this project, you ask that the City:

    • Respect informal pathways.
    • Not reduce existing seating (e.g., benches).
    • Understand and do not limit educational and recreational use.
    • Consider the inclusion of fruit trees, fruit shrubs, and flowering plants in the natural spaces.
    • Work with specialists to ensure best practices.

    Beyond this project, you ask that the City consider naturalization, conservation, tree planting, and overall environmental support in other development and projects.

    How Feedback Was Incorporated

    Residents feedback was incorporated in the City’s envisioning of the naturalization process of these and other sites. The City’s approach to naturalize areas in City-owned land will:

    • Respect informal pathways
    • Keep existing benches
    • Preserve and celebrate the local species
    • Help create habitat for pollinators (bees and butterflies)
    • Minimize impact to recreation activities
    • Support neighbourhoods in becoming more resilient to impacts from climate change (e.g., shading, wind break, rainfall storage)
    • Continue to work with the City arborists when planning to plant trees


    Naturalization Process: Naturalization requires planning and a multi-stepped process. Feedback has been incorporated in the multi-year four-stage naturalization process of these and other sites:

    1. Naturalization begins with either planting trees or creating a no-mow area. This allows for the naturalized grass to stabilize resulting in a healthier ecosystem which will be better able to defend itself against weeds (the outlined areas at each site will see planting of trees in the upcoming weeks to initiate naturalization).
    2. City staff monitor and maintain the areas controlling harmful weeds and removing trash as these sites remain under the City’s management.
    3. As the trees and the natural areas mature, native species will also establish and create a healthy and diverse ecosystem (some of these species are bushes of various sizes, berry bushes, and flowering plants).
    4. Additional habitat enhancement work may be considered as needed, (e.g., planting of smaller shrubs, berry bushes, and wildflowers,) to provided additional benefits for beauty and biodiversity.


    Next Steps

    Buckmaster’s Circle and Mundy Pond site plans will proceed as proposed, following the above process. Airport Heights is being reviewed and more information will be available in the upcoming weeks.

Page last updated: 25 August 2021, 14:15