Reprinted courtesy Lakeshore Advance.
In their capacity as ambassadors, making a positive impact on the community, the Grand Bend Community Foundation has taken a leadership role in the restoration process.
On August 6 the Grand Bend Community held an emergency meeting to discuss its response to the tornado that ripped through parts of Grand Bend on July 27. The storm took down hundreds of trees in a wide swathe between Klondyke Road and Main Street.
“Right now we’re dealing with an emergency,” says GBCF Chair Hank Winters. “But when the clean-up is complete, Grand Bend will look very different. The Foundation wants to play a role in restoring the beautiful Carolinian woodlands for which our community is famous. We recognize, too, that trees store carbon, an important way to slow climate change.” (link to information on Native plants and Trees for Grand Bend / Port Franks area Carolinian woodlands.)
During discussions, the Board of the Foundation explored two possibilities. Should the affected areas be declared a disaster area, and a Disaster Relief Committee is established, the Foundation is ready to provide support in the form of leadership, fundraising expertise, and potentially, matching funds.
In addition, the Board sees an opportunity to work with the local Conservation Authority to develop a forest restoration program. The program would include education and awareness on native species and planting techniques, and possibly a subsidy program to help homeowners purchase replacement trees. Working with environmental groups, the Foundation envisions a community-wide spring tree-planting weekend.
The Foundation will have further discussions with the municipality and its community partners about what can be done. “The tornado created devastation, but our community came together to support one another. Now it’s time to look forward with hope,” said Winters.