December 16, 2016
Treetops Community Forest Project Approaching the Home Stretch
Over the past two years, hundreds of community donations, dozens of fundraisers and business sponsors have helped reach 65% of the total goal for acquiring a natural park property for community use that is adjacent to Parry Sound Public School on Beatty Street.
The Treetops Community Forest will be closer to becoming a reality as the $132,000 raised to date, which includes the total of the Fynn Bywater Outdoor Explorers Fund, is combined with a loan from a private business to enable the timely purchase of the land, and secure it as a community asset.
Treetops co-chair, Zack Crafts, says: “Circumstance has dictated that out of respect for the many contributors to the Treetops initiative, that we proceed with the Town in taking steps to purchase the land. A loan has been secured that will bridge the need in the short term, while we raise the balance of around $70,000 over the coming year. It’s a very exciting time for the project.”
This mutual agreement allows for the Treetops Community Forest to have liability insurance, a joint use agreement with local schools, municipal understanding of park perpetuity, and continued tax receipts available to donors. The Town is able to add the park to its recreational management and master trail plans and will develop a trail named in honour of Fynn Bywater.
Mayor McGarvey says: “The Treetops Community Forest is an outstanding example of what can happen through grassroots fundraising efforts, from donations in lieu of children’s birthday gifts to art sales. Steering Committee members and donors are to be commended on reaching 65% of their goal. On behalf of Council, thank you! The Town commits to supporting the park by adding it to the Parks By-law, the collection of garbage, provision of insurance, and installation/storage of bike racks. The Treetops Community Forest is a park for all ages, contributing to the community’s enjoyment of this natural space of towering white pines and rock outcrops – right in the centre of Town.”
Even though the purchase of the property is in process, the Treetops Community Forest initiative has not run its course. Fundraising a total of $200,000 is still the goal, with future events planned and donors encouraged. Business/organization sponsors are invited to contribute and can learn more on the Treetops Community Forest website. Personal donations for the Treetops Community Forest Reserve Fund can be dropped off at the Town of Parry Sound office and can be made online www.treetopscommunityforest.com.