On a second consecutive Earth Day in Sault Ste. Marie, a city-wide cleaning effort took place on Monday.
The Sault Ste. Marie 20-Minute Makeover kicked off at city hall Monday morning, as students from Étienne Brulé joined Environmental Initiatives Coordinator Madison Zuppa and Councillor Steve Butland in the addressed those in attendance about the importance of the effort.
Zuppa explained the event is used to promote civic pride, city beautification, and the celebration of Earth Day in the Sault.
“It’s really to reminder to people to clean up every day,” Zuppa said. “This is a one-time event every year, but it’s really a message saying we need to clean every day.”
City staff has been participating in Earth Day cleanups for the past five years, and last year’s event was the first year the community has been invited to join the efforts. In it’s second year, Zuppa said she is optimistic the event’s success in upcoming years.
“We started with a big bang last year with Celebrate 100, and our motto was ‘keep the city beautiful for the next 100 years,’ and we want to use it as a means to attract tourists,” she said.
Mayor Debbie Amaroso was present for the opening ceremony.
Weather seemed to be a huge detriment to the event, Zuppa explained, but with the help of sponsors from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Tim Hortons, Walmart and Q104/EZ Rock, the message was conveyed to the community and cleaning took place at the waterfront shortly after ceremonies concluded.
“I think it’s an amazing thing that will keep growing, and as people hear about it and as it gets maybe a little warmer next year, hopefully it will grow even more,” Zuppa said.
In terms of where the idea came from for the initiative, Steve Butland said the idea was taken from former Toronto mayor David Miller.
He said he thought the concept would fly well, considering Sault Ste. Marie is much smaller so the idea would be much easier to implement.
“This is our second year, and the take-up has been absolutely wonderful,” Butland said. “We had 500 individual kids, but this year what has happened is that there is a lot of government agencies out there, a lot of the ministries, transit staff, library workers and Essar Steel has got 50-60 people out there, and it’s grown to be about several thousands of people going out and picking up.”