Highlights from Sustainable Orillia’s Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Sustainable Orillia held its second Annual General Meeting on March 27, 2022.  Board Members plus a small group of members came together virtually to review the organization’s 2021 fiscal year and set the stage for an active year ahead. The highlights included: 

  • The election of two new members to the board.  Well-known local lawyer Bruce Waite Q.C. and electric vehicle owner, enthusiast and expert David VanAlstyne joined returning board members Stan Mathewson, Danny Epstein, Fred Larsen, Gordon Ball, Susanne Laperle, Rosanna Shillolo, Kirk McLean, Jessica Bentley-Jacobs, and ex-officio Director and Orillia Council appointee, Councillor David Campbell.
  • President Stan Mathewson welcomed members and supporters to the meeting, saying, “Just when we thought that Covid-19 would dominate the news cycle, public attention on sustainability  remains high.” He noted one of SO’s biggest tasks is “helping our people understand the effects of inaction – the importance of action now relative to action later. Imagine going from 8 to 48 days of extreme heat. SO’s challenge is to bring the future close, and personalize the potential effects of climate change. People must see ‘what‘s in it for me’ and confront the uncertainty of CC head-on.” 


  • Keynote speaker Blythe Wieclawek, President of the Sustainable Orillia Youth Council (SOYC) – 16 years old, in Grade 11 at Twin Lakes SS – spoke about the SOYC’s past and present initiatives including Fridays for Future, a global Day of Climate Action. The Sustainable Simcoe Youth Summit, organized by the SOYC, is a day-long event scheduled for Lakehead University on May 26, 2022, with 200 high-school students from around Simcoe County attending (130+ already registered). 
  • Mayor Steve Clarke, Mayor of Orillia and SO’s honorary chairperson, gave assurance of broad support for SO at City Council. He stated that, post-COVID, environmental issues will become priority #1. He reported that the City’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) would soon come to Council. The Mayor encouraged SO to continue to lead and keep the pressure on senior levels of government, adding that, while there may be resistance along the way, “we’re on the right side of history.”

As Sustainable Orillia moves towards its fourth full year of operation, we are grateful for the support and participation we have received from across our community.  This movement is growing, and it’s vital that we continue building understanding, support and the momentum to make changes sooner than later. Please consider joining Sustainable Orillia as a member – your voice and your support is important. Visit www.sustainableorillia.ca/donate/ for more information. We look forward to welcoming you (hopefully in person) to our 3rd Annual General Meeting in early 2023. 

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