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Clean Green Beautiful North Bay celebrates successful 2020

With over 7,000 bags given out and nearly 8,0000 trees and shrubs planted, Clean Green Beautiful North Bay (CGB) is thanking the community for its contributions. 

The success of the beautification group’s first full-year is due in part to the “gift of COVID”, according to member Harriet Madigan. 

“I think people were looking for things to do so they ordered bags and took their kids out and cleaned up their neighbourhoods and it just seemed like a thing to do,” said Madigan.“We were the lucky recipients of that.”

Madigan, who also works with the North Bay Heritage Gardeners, is no stranger to the community’s collective efforts when it comes to beautification. For her, she believes when somewhere is already beautiful, people feel more of an obligation to keep it that way. 

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“I have my fingers crossed that the culture has changed,” Madigan said. “The culture of waste and quick disposal has changed and people are being more attentive to the impact it has. Not just to people, but animals and the environment as well.”

CGB undertook numerous initiatives this past year, ranging from community cleanups of high-litter areas to supplying cleanup bags to schools with the aim of educating the younger generation on the importance of stewardship. 

CGB gave out 7,000 biodegradable bags to community members, which, when filled, were picked up by Miller Waste for free, without it counting against a household’s curbside bag limit. 

The bags were such a success, the curbside pickup was extended late into November

The issue, however, is that a lot of the litter being picked up by Madigan and CGB should never have ended up in the garbage at all. 

“At least two-thirds of the litter we picked up, it wasn’t food, it was almost all recyclable,” she said. “We wanted to keep it separate and recycle it all but it was impossible.”

The City of North Bay also decided to back the organization, with $10,000 being allotted in the proposed 2021 budget for CGB to continue its efforts. 

“The support of the municipality is really important. We need all the players at the table,” “It looks like that’s what’s happening,” Madigan said.

Looking ahead, CGB plans to continue the momentum into 2021. Madigan says they hope to focus on educating the public about the environmental impacts of waste among other topics, but recognizes it may have some challenges. 

“There’s nothing to be gained by shaming people. I’d rather see people do things because they really know it makes a difference,” she noted. 

CGB also plans to get involved with the Communities in Bloom provincial competition which would pin North Bay against other similarly-sized communities based on beautification efforts. 

Madigan says North Bay was fairly successful in a similar event 20 years ago, making it to a national version of the competition.

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