Semiahmoo Secondary students work last May to remove invasive plants in White Rock as part of the Lower Mainland Green Team.

Semiahmoo Secondary students work last May to remove invasive plants in White Rock as part of the Lower Mainland Green Team.

Fast funds for Green Team

Speed of council decision to form partnership with charity surprises White Rock mayor

The City of White Rock is going into a partnership with Green Teams of Canada, on a fee-for-service basis, to provide two volunteer environmental management events per year in the city.

At its June 13 meeting, council approved picking up half of each event’s total budget  ($800), while Green Teams, a registered charity, will fundraise the rest.

The city contribution, totalling $1,600 for the year, will come out of the city’s contingency fund for 2016.

The organization – which already received $1,000 this year as part of the city’s annual grants program – engages a volunteer base in the 20-35 age group with activities that teach participants about local parks and ecosystems, environmental conservation and local food production.

These include removing invasive species and planting native plants in parks, as well as volunteering at non-profit educational farms.

Council’s decision followed a delegation from Green Teams founder Lyda Salation, who noted that the organization has already run several events in White Rock.

She said advantages to the city include that the events would be co-ordinated with existing environmental plans, with the city choosing the site and type of work engaged in.

It would also encourage grassroots volunteerism, she said, while partnership with Green Teams could help access funding for resources, such as native plants and trees and interpretive signs, that are not typically available to municipalities.

In moving that the city team with the charity, Coun. Lynne Sinclair said “this is a partnership that engages youth and educates.”

After hearing from financial services director Sandra Kurylo that some money was still available in the contingency fund to support the project, councillors swiftly approved the motion – surprising Mayor Wayne Baldwin, who told Salation it was highly unusual to receive such a quick response to a delegation seeking financial support.

“Congratulations,” he said. “You’ve gone where no person has gone before.”

 

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