Twenty-five Orillians came together virtually on Sunday, February 28th for Sustainable Orillia’s Annual General Meeting. Chairman Stan Mathewson welcomed friends, directors and guest speakers to the meeting, which featured a review of the previous year’s activities and expenditures, plus an overview of the organization’s strategic priorities for the year to come. Membership in the local organization has now topped 50.
Sustainable Orillia’s President Stan Mathewson presided over the meeting, which celebrated several accomplishments through 2020 COVID limitations – including two electric vehicle demonstrations and nine webinars during Sustainable Orillia Month during November.
No vaccine for climate change
“It’s been encouraging to see the sustainability movement gain momentum over the past year,” stated Mathewson. “It was a challenging year for everyone, yet we are seeing increased engagement across the community. We are becoming more and more confident about our ability to help position Orillia as a model for sustainable practices.” Unlike the pandemic, he noted that “there is no vaccine for climate change” and our ability to offset the effects of global warming will be futile if the majority of households, businesses, governments and individuals hesitate to adapt more sustainable practices.
Three new board members were elected at this first Annual General Meeting for Sustainable Orillia:
Dr. Sreekumari (Sree) Kurissery, environmental scientist, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sustainability Sciences at Lakehead University. She said she chose to join the board of Sustainable Orillia “hoping to bring the relevant experience and expertise in Sustainability Sciences as well as passion for environmental sustainability”.
Owner and operator of Sunrise Yoga Studio since 2009, Rosanna Shillolo is also a Yoga Instructor at Orillia Sports Medicine. A mother of three, she wants to do her part to actively protect our planet and pass along sustainable practices to future generations.
As a Partner in Orillia’s Home Hardware outlet, Kirk McLean is well known in the local business community. Kirk has lived in Simcoe County for 8 years and says he feels lucky “to live in a community surrounded by water, minutes from skiing, hiking trails and beautiful roads for cycling”. He wants to help look after it, for himself and his children (2 boys), and for future generations.
Continuing in their existing terms as Sustainable Orillia directors are: Stan Mathewson (President), Danny Epstein (Vice-President), Fred Larsen (Treasurer), Gordon Ball (Secretary), Susanne Laperle, John Knapp, Michael Shillolo and Orillia City Councillor David Campbell. Zac Waite is the President of the Sustainable Orillia Youth Council. Bios for all SO Board Members, plus the Youth Council President, and Renée Recoskie, who serves as Sustainable Orillia’s liaison with the City, are all available on Sustainable Orillia’s website at https://sustainableorillia.ca/governance-strategy/.
Board Member is named Orillia’s 2020 Citizen of the Year
Members were reminded at the meeting that board member and Treasurer Fred Larsen was recently named Orillia’s 2020 Citizen of the Year – the second board member from the organization to receive the recognition in as many years, following Stan Mathewson’s award in 2019.
Guest speaker Claire Malcomson, Executive Director of Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, told members that threats to the lake (phosphorus levels are more than twice the desired level) can be reversed with citizen action. See www.rescuelakesimcoe.org
Mayor Steve Clarke also addressed the meeting, and noted City Council’s broad support for both the cause and the organization.