The owner of Gelato Carina in downtown Squamish, Gregory Fischer, looks out of his shop and sees a barren stretch of roads, all cement and concrete.
"The only green you see is on the hills. Second Avenue has no green and all you see is just cement and pavement. It's very bland and very grey, especially when it's a cloudy day out there and it starts to rain," Fischer said.
But within this ashen firmament, Fischer sees a green hope taking root.
It's a $15,000 grant being awarded by the TD Friends of the Environmental Foundation and Tree Canada to plant 40 red maple trees in a new initiative to green downtown Squamish.
The District of Squamish is one of 20 communities to receive TD Green Streets funding this year out of 110 municipalities across Canada that applied to the program.
The initiative will see trees being planted around the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Winnipeg Street. A second initiative will see trees planted along Pemberton Street and 2nd Avenue.
John Jervis, a local property consultant submitted the grant application, with the help of the Downtown Squamish Business Improvement Association (DBSIA), the Squamish Chamber of Commerce and the Squamish Environmental Society.
Jervis said so often citizens look to local governments or to businesses for help with such projects, but citizens can join forces themselves and take them on themselves.
"We need to take ownership of the downtown environment that many of us visit every day, and this starts with simple, tangible goals such as planting trees and other permanent greenery, power-washing, fixing the worn-out benches and painting - all of which can be done with willing volunteer hands, and this town has many!" Jervis said.
Downtown business owners like Fischer are excited and hoping that this will be an effective step to bring more people to downtown Squamish.
"We are like a grey shopping mall, but with trees and shade and the light hitting the branches and the leaves of various colours it'll be much more inviting to people to come downtown. It will be much more pleasing to the eye," Fischer said.
Eric Armour, president of the downtown business association, said downtown Squamish has the energy and the people that make any downtown buzz with life. Initiatives like this, he said, will further give a facelift to the downtown.
"Planting trees in the core of our town will be a wonderful benefit for our citizens and visitors, and it's an important part of our commitment as a community toward environmental sustainability," Armour said.