Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

West End BIZ program making a clean sweep

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The West End Business Improvement Zone is offering a unique fundraising opportunity to neighbourhood groups, sports teams, service organizations and schools.

The BIZ’s Team Effort initiative offers groups a chance to earn fundraising dollars in exchange for helping to beautify the community while spending a fall day outdoors as a group, enjoying the fresh air and participating in physical activity, and contributing to the neighbourhood’s image.

There are two Team Effort choices groups can opt for. The first option is a fall planter ‘Clean Me Out’ plant removal (which includes an honorarium of $400 for group assignments. The second is a fall ‘Pick Me Up’ litter clean-up (with an honorarium of $350 per group assignment).

"It occurred to us that there are a lot of local groups out there that could use some funding assistance," said West End BIZ executive director Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner. "For some student groups, the honorarium we offer is a large part of their funding needs and is a great option."

Another appealing part of Team Effort is it helps groups get engaged and make the community cleaner and more appealing.

"We’ve found that most people love working outside," Cardwell-Hoeppner said.

"In the spring, we add eight to 10 university students to our staff for area maintenance, beautification, and miscellaneous projects. They plant over 350 planters and keep the streets clean.

"Each fall, they return to school before the plants are done for the season. So, come the end of September, we have many planters to empty. We want to give the streets a last litter removal before the snow falls."

The help is much appreciated. The West End BIZ has just two year-round maintenance staff, with a couple of part-timers called upon when needed.

"It takes a long time to do these tasks in addition to other work before the really cold weather sets in, so we wanted to find a solution," Cardwell-Hoeppner said.

All West End organizations and student groups are eligible to participate in the BIZ’s Team Effort program.

Last year was the program’s inaugural year, and it proved to be quite popular. Anyone wanting more information about Team Effort should contact the West End BIZ office.

The BIZ gives participating Team Effort groups a list of what work needs to be done along with instructions, providing all the supplies and tools required. Groups have three Saturdays to complete the work. The BIZ follows up to ensure all the work has been done before issuing honorariums.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Team Effort program are already being considered for 2013 and the BIZ intends to continue the offering for the foreseeable future.

"It takes the collective efforts of many groups, organizations, or individuals to make a difference," Cardwell-Hoeppner said. "This is one way we can do that and it’s also mutually beneficial. We are so pleased it’s working well."

Rebeca Kuropatwa is a community correspondent for the West End. You can contact her at beca72ca.yahoo.ca.

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