May 4, 2019 kicked off another spring clean-up in the town of Milton as part of the 27th Annual Good Neighbours Community Day. As always, dismal grey weather did not deter over 1000 people from congregating at Milton’s Town
Hall on Mary Street and contributing to the event’s best turn-out yet.

After registering inside, volunteers were given a Good Neighbours t-shirt, and a pair of work gloves donated by Home Hardware. Most participants gathered in the courtyard, where both Tim Horton’s and the Rotary Club were on hand to provide hot beverages, timbits, and peameal or tomato sandwiches. During a series of speeches, event planners made light about their fellow organizer Alex Wellstead missing this year’s clean up and choosing instead to be with his labouring wife. Mayor Gord Krantz and the rest of the team paid homage to the event’s founder Len Lee, who created the event with the best of intentions and humble beginnings almost thirty years ago. Krantz said, “Th is is a program which has been near and dear to Milton for some time.” Both Lee, and other members of the organizing committee appeared choked up during the recognition.

Many volunteers attend in teams made up of local groups, or workplace employees. Susan Hawes, Mike Bastarache and Jamie Beluse brought their Cub Scout group of 10 kids as one of their annual scouting events. “This is our home, and we want it to be clean. We want to teach the kids the importance of community, which is also a part of our scouting values.” Jarret Enman, current Royal Bank Branch Manager at James Snow Parkway, created a team made up of 20 RBC employees representing all four branches in Milton. Th e group also welcomed RBC family members including his five-year-old son Cole. Enman says, “Community is something we are very passionate about and we want to contribute our time to volunteering.”

Many youths took responsibility upon themselves: Highschooler Nikki Le saw the call for volunteers online and encouraged her friends to participate with her. Her friend Ceylon Pier-Stevens says they are taking part “because we want to clean up the environment and keep our earth clean.”

Both police and fire fighters played a role in the day as well. Fire fighter Andrew Croll states, “We are community oriented. Both when working to serve the community, and outside the job as well.” He notes that being present at events like this one gives Miltonians an opportunity to converse with them and ask important fire safety questions.

Event Organizer Ian Thompson holds a deep reserve of passion for Good Neighbours Day – both for its history and its importance within our town. He says it’s as simple as asking ourselves, “What do we want our community to look like?”
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