By Stew Slater
The Rotary Club’s Trout Creek park project got a big boost last week with the announcement of a $17,605 grant from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.
“Congratulations to the Town of St. Marys for helping to protect our Great Lakes,” said Environment Minister Jim Bradley in an email from the Ministry’s communications branch. “This is a great example of community groups coming together to help ensure that our Great Lakes are drinkable, swimmable and fishable.”
For a few years, the Rotary Club has been working with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and the Town of St. Marys to develop parkland and a creek-side ecosystem on the north bank of Trout Creek between the London Bridge trestle and Station Street. Most recently, native trees were planted to go along with the native grasses and shrubs that have been growing along the bank for a couple of years.
Future plans include a pathway through the park and a commemorative sign to honour long-time Rotarian Eric Taylor.
The $17,605 grant comes after the three organizations jointly applied to the Environment Ministry in September, 2012. According to the message from the Ministry, the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund “offers grants to grassroots community groups for activities such as cleaning up a beach or shoreline, restoring a wetland, or creating a coastal or riverside trail.”
Jenna McCartney, corporate project coordinator for the Town of St. Marys, adds that part of the grant money will go towards the installation of three interpretive signs along the Rotary Park trail, explaining topics like the historical uses of the land, the vegetation, and Trout Creek.