There was a feeling of excitement, inspiration and goodwill at the Parkside this past Saturday, March 7, as residents filled the room to support projects by the community for the community, at Project Impact. Project Impact, hosted by Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, supports people in making a difference where they live. A call out for proposals for small community projects that make a big impact went out early in January, and applications came in from residents and community groups from around Greater Sudbury.
Twenty-three projects presented on Saturday, and then connected with people at their booths. Valerie Besserer, who was presenting on behalf of the Onaping Kids Klub, summed up the event in a Facebook post. “Thank you so much to the organizers for such a beautiful and inspiring day! So many diverse groups coming together to share ideas and experiences in hopes of making our city a better place for kids, wildlife and communities. Thank you for such a unique experience!”
After finding out about each of the projects, residents of all ages cast their votes for the five projects they most supported. Voting continues all this week, March 9 – 15, on-line and at any local library. If you’re at your library branch, look for the Project Impact display, and hand in your ballot and registration card to the librarian once you’ve made your choices.
The projects with the most votes will receive funding (up to $500) and volunteer time. At least six projects will be funded. You can help raise this number by adding to the pot of funding available with a donation on-line or at the main library on Mackenzie. Many people commented that they hoped all the projects presented could be funded. “Good luck voting. There isn’t a project here I wouldn’t throw money at,” said Charles Ramcharan before starting his own pitch for student build bird houses for songbirds.
Participants also made valuable connections at the event. “I had lots of people sign up to help crochet, and that’s what we really needed,” said Melanie Hunt who was pitching a project to yarnbomb the fence at Alexander Public School with crochet flowers. Mark Varrin also got a full page of volunteers for the Milkweed for Monarch projects, as well as an invitation to connect with more people at Seedy Sunday the following day, an opportunity that led to another full page of volunteers and some great connections with nurseries interested in helping to start milkweed seeds. All participants will receive information on further community connections and/or funding sources that could help them move forward.
There was a wide variety of projects presented. New community gardens are in the works in Capreol, Garson, and New Sudbury, which also includes a Creator’s Turtle Garden designed by Will Morin. Morin also pitched the idea of planting sweetgrass and other native species at the new St. David’s school site. Students and youth were engaged in a number of other projects as well: historical sign toppers in New Sudbury, banners in Copper Cliff, science and art activities in the Onaping Kids Club, and wildlife education activities with Wild at Heart. Ryan Heights and Louis Street were notable for bringing residents together to do a lot with a little to transform their surrounding for the better. Ryan Heights is planning a butterfly garden as part of reclaiming a larger park space, while Louis Street is working with Myths and Mirrors to create a mural engaging residents of all ages. A mural is also proposed for the railroad museum in Capreol. Community art makes another appearance with Junction Creek Stewardship Committee’s proposal to mark the path of Junction Creek below downtown. Colourful picnic tables in Capreol, a neighbourhood Little Free Library, and a water buggy for Northern Lights Festival Boréal and other local events round out the submissions.
What is evident in all these ideas is that we can all make a positive difference where we live, even with very little. These small community projects both rely on and create connections and relationships with our neighbours. They build community, and with community we can do more together.
Naomi Grant chairs Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury and is a member of the working group organizing Project Impact.
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