Newsletter: March 2023
APRIL 03, 2023
From Left to Right: Sarah Harmer, Burkhard Mausberg, Rochelle Rubenstein
A Message from Our President
I like going to social work events. Interacting in real life is a joy easily forgotten after a long pandemic. There is no substitute for the sharing of a common purpose, listening to stories and having a good belly laugh. So it was with great anticipation that we hosted an event in early March purposely named “Gather.” We listened to music, heard a few inspiring speeches, saw great art and raised funds for our Greenbelt work.
This event proved that there is still a great sense of unity towards the protection of Ontario’s Greenbelt. This fight isn’t over. Just because the government made the decision, doesn’t mean houses will get built on our beloved Greenbelt. There are still serious hurdles: sewer, water and road infrastructure needs to be built, municipalities still have to approve site plans and issue building permits. So this is not the end and our tenacity will continue. And with having raised some $40,000 from committed donors in just one night, I eagerly look forward to our next social event to support the Greenbelt and the change we can create with the money raised so far.
Victory in the Don Valley!
Our project with Build the Park, dedicated to saving parklands in the Lower Don Valley in Toronto, scored a major win early this month when Metrolinx identified an alternative location for their new layover facility, saving priceless Don Valley greenspace from potentially disastrous environmental impacts.
The next step for this project is to encourage Toronto City Hall to create a Super Park in the Lower Don Valley that would connect communities from the Lake Ontario Waterfront to Highway 401. What a gift to future generations!
Small Change Fund is thrilled to welcome our new Community Coordinator, Belle Teixeira. Belle studied Media Communications at the University of Guelph-Humber, specializing in photography. She also recently completed a graduate certificate in environmental visual communication from the Royal Ontario Museum.
As Community Coordinator, Belle will take on a range of duties, including onboarding new partners, managing projects and organizing important data. She will also assist Abbie and Jim with some of our communications work.
Belle describes herself as a “jack of all trades” and is interested in everything from photography and videography to plants, wildlife and water. She is based in Toronto (Tkaronto), Ontario with her Olde English Bulldogge, Layla.
Fighting Back Against the Hallman Pit
Opponents of the Hallman Pit, a gravel pit proposal near Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, were blindsided by a recent Township of Wilmot Council decision to settle with the pit applicant. The decision was made in a closed meeting and is a sharp departure from the unanimous resolution by the previous Council to oppose the application. Each Council member, except the Mayor, had pledged to oppose the pit during a pre-election survey from our partners, Citizens for Safe Ground Water.
But the fight isn’t over yet. More than 100 township residents attended a Council meeting earlier this month to oppose the new gravel pit, as well as the lack of opportunity for public comment on the latest Council decision. It’s not too late to help us Stop the Hallman Pit and protect Waterloo Region’s farmland, water and air quality.
Protecting the Elk-Kootenay River Watershed from Coal Mine Pollution
We are proud to support Wildsight as they lobby federal politicians to advance solutions to the growing environmental crisis in the Elk Valley region of British Columbia. For decades, metallurgical coal mines have operated in the valley, contaminating the Elk-Kootenay River Watershed. This region includes the traditional territories of the Ktunaxa Nation, who have long led efforts to address this contamination, and the area is a critical wildlife corridor. The aim is to develop long term solutions that respect Indigenous rights and protect the biodiversity of the area for the future.
A “Purrfect” Way to Close Out the Winter
Have you ever seen a cat go snowshoeing? Burkhard snapped this picture of Aurelius soaking up the late winter Muskoka sights and sounds from the comfort of her backpack. We think she enjoyed her experience!
Springing Forward with New Projects
While we are currently taking a hiatus from accepting new project applications, several of our “in the works” projects went live this month. We are pleased to welcome the following:
- Protect Little Lakes Area from Aggregate Mining – to protect an ecologically sensitive area from the disruptive impacts of aggregate mining.
- Protect Opinicon Lake – to oppose excessive expansion of commercial activities on the shoreline of the lake, protecting biodiversity and cultural heritage
- Save Ontario Place – to protect Ontario Place from commercial development and preserve it as an open and accessible park for all
- Toronto’s Dirty Little Secret – to produce a documentary highlighting the environmental implications of Toronto’s landfills, as well as explore potential solutions
Small News Bites
- Thank you to all our partners who filled out our survey. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!
- We are working on a new and exciting Digital Strategy. We will be using suggestions from the partner survey and from our donors to inform new processes. More updates to come!
- Operations and Project Manager Sarah Ceci and her family recently adopted a kitten called Nakita! Congratulations on the new furry friend.
As always, a sincere thank you to all of our partners, donors and supporters. We couldn’t do this without you.
The Small Change Fund Team