Celebrate National Public Works Week with Newmarket

Celebrate National Public Works Week with Newmarket

National Public Works Week might not be marked on your calendar and you might not think that it has much impact on you. However, in this week’s blog, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight why it’s both an important week to recognize and how it can be fun for the entire family!

National Public Works Week is May 19 to 25. During the week, the Town of Newmarket celebrates the dedicated team who have made a career in the public works profession.

I sat down with two Town of Newmarket Public Works staff members to get the low-down on what to expect from each event.

Outdoor Discovery Walking Tour: Tree Discovery
First, I Interviewed Ruurd van de Ven, the Supervisor of Forestry in Public Works Services at the Town of Newmarket.

What types of trees will we get to see on this walk?
We will see many different species of trees on our walk. There are some older trees in the downtown core of Newmarket and we will be learning more about these species which include: Bur Oak, Black Walnut, Beech trees, Crab apples and more.

Name one fun fact about trees that most people don’t know.
What we see above ground is roughly half of the tree, the root system makes up the other half. Roots can extend many metres beyond where the branches reach in search of nutrients and water.

Why is it important that we plant certain trees in Newmarket?
We plant many different species of trees in order to get a variety of trees in our community. This will help mitigate any pests and diseases that can harm our ecosystem. Currently, we are dealing with Emerald Ash Borer which attacks only ash trees. If the Town only planted Ash trees, we would be having to remove almost all of them, as this small insect kills almost all ash trees.

What is your favourite type of tree and why?
Oak trees are probably my favourite. They grow very large and live for a long time.

Is there anything else you’d like to say about this Discovery Tree Walk?
The Discovery Tree Walk is a great way to learn a little bit about trees as well as the History of Newmarket. Trees live for a long time and almost every tree in Town has a story to tell, Yes trees do talk…all you have to do is listen carefully.

Ruurd really does have an extensive wealth of knowledge to share about the importance of trees to Newmarket. When Ruurd isn’t dedicating his time to trees, he likes to go camping, participate in photography and line dancing.  If you’d like to join him on his walk, admission is free to this fun, and educational walking tour about trees. Register online at play.newmarket.ca using the course code 120423.

Next, I spoke with Newmarket resident Nick Evans, who is also a father of two and Town of Newmarket’s Parks Supervisor. Nick gave us a first-hand experience of the Touch-A-Truck event from last year.

“Touch-A-Truck is a great event that invites everyone from the community to experience what it’s like to work in Public Works Services. My kids aged four and six loved the event and had a ton of fun sitting in the trucks, honking the horns and learning more about what each truck and equipment does.

It’s a really good feeling when you get to see so many smiling faces at this event and a good way for us to connect and give back to the community.

If you haven’t attended this event before, I encourage everyone to do so. We partner with other organizations to bring in equipment and vehicles that you wouldn’t regularly get to experience on a day-to-day basis. This includes cement trucks, police vehicles, fire trucks, double decker GO buses, a quarry truck, RCMP Cruisers, a Television Bucket Truck, an excavator and more!

This event is built and planned for children in mind but community members of all ages will have a blast with all the interactive activities related to the Public Works profession.”

There you have it. First-hand experience on what you can expect from these two events noted above. Both events will take place on Thursday, May 23. The Outdoor Discovery Walking Tour about Tree's with the Town’s Forestry Supervisor, Ruurd van de Ven is from 1 to 2 p.m. starting at Newmarket’s Old Town Hall (460 Botsford Street) and Touch-A-Truck event from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Robert N. Shelton Operations Centre (1275 Maple Hill Court).

I personally really enjoy working with the Public Works Services team. They are a group of amazing individuals who are committed to the work that they do. Whether it’s plowing snow off the roads and sidewalks, ensuring facilities are in tip top shape for patrons, maintaining our parks and trails, or fixing a watermain break in the middle of a cold winter night so that residents have access to high quality water, you can really count on Public Works staff to save the day.

Part of my job is to seek out good news stories to tell. Our Public Works Services team makes that easy for me because the meaningful work that they do is the story. Their dedication to ‘making Newmarket even better’ is strongly represented in their day-to-day tasks and I am grateful to be able to work with such an amazing group of people.

If you are out and about around Town and spot a Public Works Services staff member, take some time and thank them for their service. 

Town of Newmarket Forestry Supervisor, Ruurd, van de Ven posing with residents at his Outdoor Discovery Walking Tour: Tree Discovery in 2018.

Town of Newmarket Forestry Supervisor, Ruurd, van de Ven posing with residents at his Outdoor Discovery Walking Tour: Tree Discovery in 2018.

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