After several years of collecting garbage around the Milles-Îles River and the River Park, the Terrebonne Rowing Club was ready to improve its environmental impact. That’s where Émile Parent, a young student involved with the Club and a fervent advocate for the environment, comes in. Thanks to funding from the CPRA’s Green Jobs Initiative, which is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience Program, Émile created a carpooling project, which aimed to reduce the club’s carbon footprint. “I have a passion for progressive change,” said Émile. “I wanted to see some greener initiatives at the Club.”
Over the course of Émile’s work term, he was able to make concrete changes on the members’ habits, which will have a long-term impact on the environment. This is something Émile has been pushing for for some time. “For a long time, I have been interested in the car pooling issue,” said Émile. “I realized that several Club members arrived individually by car, even though they lived close to each other.” He got to work pairing the participants and drafting a code of ethics for the Club members. Given the environmental appeal of the program, Émile’s proposal gained the full support of the membership, and the program was adopted quickly.
“I have a passion for progressive change. I wanted to see some greener initiatives at the Club” - Émile Parent, student
Another simple but important change that Émile facilitated at the club was shifting to reusable water bottles. Daniel Aucoin, the Manager of the Club, expressed his relief following the elimination of disposable plastic bottles, which were everywhere. “We now have an aqueduct water dispenser in the hangar,” said Daniel. “Everyone is encouraged to bring their own reusable bottles. Thanks to this project, the amount of trash you can see on the river bank is already reduced.”
The last major initiative that Émile worked on was reducing the amount of waste the club produces. Historically, social events at the club generated a huge amount of waste from disposable dishes and utensils for guests. Emile sourced proper dishes and utensils that the Rowing Club could reuse at future events. “Thanks to this project, the Club hosted it’s first waste-free event,” said Émile. “Anything that wasn’t consumed was composted or recycled after the social. For the first time, we didn’t throw anything in the trash.”
“Anything that wasn’t consumed was composted or recycled after the social. For the first time, we didn’t throw anything in the trash” - Émile Parent, student
Securing funding through the CPRA Green Jobs Initiative was really the spark to open the Environmental Coordinator position which Mr. Aucoin wants to see become a permanent job. He would like to start more initiatives in the coming years to clean the park, the river, and explore other environmentally sustainable projects on the surrounding lands.
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