A new community cleanup initiative will bring together local community groups and hundreds of volunteers on Saturday, May 5, to pick up the litter that accumulates on our streets and sidewalks, and in our parks. To help promote the event, a new mascot – named Baggy – was unveiled at the February 26 council meeting.
During Mayor Barb Clumpus's 'Engaging the Business Community' sessions held last summer, the importance of a clean and attractive community was identified as an important factor for attracting visitors to the municipality. As a result the Economic Development Advisory Committee identified first impressions as a key priority.
A first impressions working group began meeting to discuss ways to enhance the appearance and the first impression provided to visitors to the Municipality of Meaford, and as a result the new cleanup event was developed.
Two members of the committee, Sonja Glass and Liz Harris, made a presentation to council on February 26 to announce the initiative and to introduce council to the new mascot that will be used to promote the event – a smiling stylized trash bag named Baggy.
“We all believe that Meaford is an absolutely beautiful place to live,” Glass told council. “And yet the litter is a little bit disappointing. We are a great community for recycling, yet the winds and our weather picks up some of that recycling and moves it around to places we don't want it to be. We would like to support this initiative to clean up that litter, and to start building pride in our community again. We see this as our first step.”
The May 5 coordinated cleanup of public spaces throughout the municipality will begin at 10 a.m. at the Rotary Harbour Pavilion. The committee estimates that between 200 and 300 volunteers will participate in the cleanup. At the February 26 council meeting, $2,610 in funding for the event was approved.
“We want to ask people to come out for a few hours on one day to help us clean up our community together. It's a way of promoting volunteerism, and it will help us to engage youth in volunteerism,” Glass told council.
Glass told council that Baggy the mascot was developed as a way to promote the event and have some fun. Baggy is inspired from an initiative in Scandinavia and Europe called 'plogging' that sees joggers pick up trash along the route of their run.
To help build a volunteer base for the event, the committee has been approaching local service clubs and volunteer groups.
“We've got the Kinsmen, Kinettes, the Lion's Club are all on board, the Scarecrows are with us, and we're waiting to hear from a few other groups,” Glass told council. “We have a communications plan that will spread this idea to the community.”
Members of council were enthusiastic about the plan.
“It's amazing how you have brought the clubs together. I know this has not happened in the past; for everybody to come together at one table and say we're going to support this initiative,” noted Councillor Shirley Keaveney.
More details will be available as the event date approaches.