TBM approves grant for shoreline clean up efforts

The Blue Mountains council has given a thumbs up to a plan to increase the maximum available through its Environmental Sustainability Fund.

At its committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 21, council endorsed a staff report that would see the maximum available each year through the program increased from $5,000 to $8,000. As part of the same report, council also approved giving $4,950 to Georgian Bay Forever for a summer program to support town shoreline clean-up efforts.

The fund has been in place in The Blue Mountains since 2017 and a total of $21,970 has been handed out to various groups over that time to support a number of different projects. Town staff recommended the program continue with $8,000 available each year, with the maximum individual grant being $5,000.

“This has been a success,” said Nicholas Cloet, the town’s sustainability coordinator.

Cloet said in 2023, Georgian Bay Forever plans to use its grant from the fund to hire two summer students to assist with shoreline cleanup efforts. The students will be present regularly at town coastal parks to clean up and educate the public.

“They will characterize the litter that is gathered to help us understand what the litter is and help us inform efforts to remove that litter from shorelines,” said Cloet.

Mayor Andrea Matrosovs praised the proposed project and said it would produce data that would be useful for all coastal communities and their clean up efforts. She asked Cloet how staff arrived at the new $8,000 figure for the grant program.

Cloet said the hope for the increased grant amount would be to capture a wider range of proposed projects.

“It seemed like a happy medium,” he said.

Council, as committee of the whole, voted unanimously to approve the recommendation. The report will come back to full council on March 6 for approval. The request for an additional $3,000 for the grant program will be forwarded to the 2024 budget process.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca