Local volunteer group, Clean Up Innisfil, was out for the second time this season on Saturday to help beautify Innisfil Beach Road.
The plan was to tackle all the gardens between 25th Sideroad to Lakeside Retirement Residence at St. Paul's Road, but the work was a lot more than the group anticipated.
The group was able to complete six gardens from 25th Sideroad to Lilac Drive.
"The task of cleaning out all the weeds and garbage kept us from progressing towards our goal," said group organizer Leslie Pollak, who noted the weeds were so bad that they were strangling the plants. "We were able to clean up the gardens on all four corners of Innisfil Beach Road & 25th Sideroad, the garden adjacent to CircleK, the gardens on the south side of Innisfil Beach road from the 25th Sideroad to Lilac Drive."
The group of volunteers split into two groups and were out from 9 a.m. until noon.
Sherry Koomar from CircleK donated water and ice, and Kevin Wilson from Alcona Home Hardware donated the yard waste bags. The Town of Innisfil provided the Pitch-In Day garbage bags.
"It was a nice day for it," said Pollak of the event.
Residents who pitched in to help included Candice Griffith, Carol Griffith, Eddie Ferrier, Jan Silk, Leslie Pollak, and Pekka Reinio.
Last month, the group of volunteer residents put their efforts into cleaning up Belle Ewart Park on Emily Street, adding new mulch to the gardens, clearing the weeds and tree stumps.
The Clean Up Innisfil Facebook page was created just this past summer by Pollak who lives in Alcona. It is a volunteer-based group of residents interested in helping to clean up the parks and roadways in town.
"I saw an immediate need to do something in Innisfil, to clean up trash, beautify our parks and other areas, remove weeds from the concrete flower pots along Innisfil Beach Road and in Cookstown," said Pollak.
Horticulture maintenance was removed from the Town of Innisfil's 2021/22 budget, to help achieve a 0 per cent blended tax increase for 2021 and a low 1 per cent blended tax increase for 2022.
"The flower beds and general horticulture throughout the town are suffering as a result, but the intention behind this unprecedented low budget was to help reduce residents’ financial burden during the COVID-19 pandemic," explained acting communications lead for the town, Jenn Rae. "Staff are aware of the concerns regarding the flower beds on Innisfil Beach Road and will provide a report to Council in the near future to provide options."
The group will be back out again this Saturday to complete the rest of the gardens along Innisfil Beach Road. Their event coincides with the town's annual 'Pitch In Day' where all residents are encouraged to help clean up litter from road edges, public trails, parks, and road ends in the community.
Pollak will also be contacting guidance counsellors at local schools this week to see if there is any interest in students taking part in the initiative for community service hours.
To learn more about the Clean Up Innisfil group, visit their Facebook page here.