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Guelph’s proud green legacy

I am so pleased that the City of Guelph has received the Waste Diversion Ontario Ron Lance Memorial Award for 2012 Waste Diversion (Tribune, Jan. 23). I am especially proud of the residents of Guelph, who continue to excel in environmental excellence based on a long history within this wonderful community.
In the early days with OPIRG, Recycle Guelph, Guelph2000 and grassroots community support the city met and exceeded all expectations.
I’d like to take this opportunity to honour the memory of those visionaries who realized our potential. Unfortunately, mortality has been a cruel fate for some, but I think we should pause and quietly thank those no longer among us, as well as those who continue to see and embrace a world without waste.
The late city director of engineering John K. Bull, along with former city engineer Ray Funnell, were visionaries well in advance of their time. They recognized that resources could be recovered and recycled. This was instrumental in initiating the Blue Box program in Guelph in 1987.
Also a major player was the environmentalist in a suit, Dan Hoornweg, who was the first City of Guelph recycling coordinator. Further, the late Dick Cave from R. Cave and Associates was the consultant who put flesh to the bones on a full waste resource recycling program (Wet-Dry) launched in 1995.
Guelph continues to have an impressive legacy, despite naysayers and setbacks. The legacy that started with Recycle Guelph includes Evan Ferrari, Karen Farbridge, Peter Cameron, Lambert Otten, Stephen Rodd, Janet Laird, Gus Stahlmann, Cathy Smith, Carmen Bauman, former mayors John Counsell, Joe Young and Norm Jary, Coun. Gloria Kovach, Guelph 2000 staff, OPIRG, and the Guelph Tribune’s successful campaign to make phone books recyclable.
To tell you the truth, I am unable to list all those who played important roles, of which there are many.
Those who went before us need be remembered and honoured, along with all of the residents of Guelph, for their contributions towards this award.
The Waste Diversion Ontario award is well deserved. Thank you for all who contributed . . . imagine a world without waste.
Trevor Barton
Editor’s Note: It should be noted that former City of Guelph employee and letter writer Trevor Barton was also a major player in the city’s environmental stewardship. Today he is the Region of Peel’s supervisor of waste management.

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