PORT HOOD: Amanda MacDougall, the executive director of the Atlantic Costal Action Program (ACAP), came to Inverness Municipal Council last week hoping to forge an eco-partnership with the local municipality.
“We call ourselves ACAP Cape Breton, but really we’ve been known as ACAP in the CBRM [Cape Breton Regional Municipality]. We haven’t been able to spread our wings and work as much as we want through the whole of Cape Breton,” she said on October 3.
ACAP Cape Breton is an environmental non-profit organization that offers the knowledge that Cape Bretoners need to make greener choices. The group works directly on practical solutions that help protect and restore our natural environment.
Since its beginning in 1992, ACAP Cape Breton has evolved into a group that integrates environmental, social and economic factors into projects focusing on action, education and ecosystem planning.
The group does a great bit of toe-dipping in various green areas. The group helps spearhead volunteers to monitor the bat population, as bats on the island are being threatened by a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome. Fostering sustainable gardens and working to stem coastal erosion are other areas in which the group works.
In the CBRM, the group led the way for a low flow toilet rebate program. That program resulted in a $50 credit on their municipal water bill for the installation of a six litre low-flow flush toilet.
ACAP Cape Breton, through a partnership with the CBRM Solid Waste Department, operates a trash pick-up team called The Trashformers.
Since 2011, the Trashformers collected more than 3,000 bags of trash.
“We hire five students for the summer. They rent a truck, and they literally go around CBRM and clean up every noon and cranny,” she said.
Deputy Warden Alfred Poirier said he’s been meeting with environmentalists in Cheticamp, and he’d love to see MacDougall and company come to his area to touch base.
Councillor John Dowling and Jim Mustard thought the best road to take might be partnering with kids in local schools, and councillor Laurie Cranton said tapping a group like the Trashformers would be ideal in the Margaree area. A great deal of debris and trash is river side, and ousting it would help beautify the area.
“There’s really no end to the need of a group like the Trashformers,” MacDougall said.
Illegal dumping in the spring is a big issue, councillor John MacLennan said, when folks are looking to get rid of furniture, but he’s pleasantly surprised that he’s not seeing a great deal of trash from folks visiting his area.
“As far as cups and wrappers, it’s very minimal,” he said.
MacDougall said it was great to get the feedback, and she’ll be excited to work with the municipality going forward.