Volunteer Information Session 2018
The thirteenth annual Volunteer Information Session was held on Saturday, April 28th, 2018 at the Debert Hospitality Centre in Debert Nova Scotia. Coni Murray, chair of the Nova Scotia Adopt-A-Highway Program (AAH), welcomed the attendees and introduced the committee members.
The day began with a presentation from Gail and Derek Taylor, owners of the Debert Hospitality Centre (DHC). Derek, a Red Seal Chef, began the presentation with the history of the DHC. He explained how the large building was opened in 1981 on a military base and took about three years to build. The purpose of the building was to be a place to host pilots as they were completing their training. Ultimately, the very large facility including four conference rooms, two dining rooms, and the accommodations portion were being considered for demolition, due to the overwhelming operating costs. In 2004 CORDA stepped in and decided to repurpose the building and eventually brought in Derek and his business partner, who were the successful owners of D & D Catering at the time, to breathe new life into the gorgeous facility. Derek and his business partner operated the facility for many years and were eventually offered the chance to buy the facility and, along with their families, they jumped at the opportunity. Gail, current Sales Manager of DHC, went on to tell us about their staff and how customer service is their first priority. She explained that they stop at nothing to support their wonderful staff in providing first-class customer service. Derek and Gail finished their presentation with a tour of their amazing facility which was an impressive repurpose of something that otherwise could have been ‘thrown in the trash’.
Program Administrator, Amy Langille, was next to present and discussed the history of AAH, last year’s cleanup results, and updates to the website. The program began in 1992 and this is AAH’s 25th year in operation. Since its inception the program has grown to include over 170 cleanup groups and have over 1,000 kilometers of adopted roadways and 18 adopted interchanges. In the past year alone the program, along with its volunteers, removed over 3,000 bags of litter, 187 bags of recycling, and cleaned 566 kilometers of roadway. The website has evolved and now allows for electronic submissions of cleanup permits, signage reporting, and contest entries.
The morning presentations ended with a presentation from Dale Lyon of Divert NS, who also sits on the Board of Directors for the AAH Program. Dale discussed Nova Scotia’s Waste Audit processes and findings. A very informative presentation which showcased what our landfills consists of. The 2011 residential findings showed that a combined 91,479 tons of fibre, organics, and plastic made up over half of what was found in the landfills. Dale explained that all three categories of fibre, organics, and plastic are actually banned items and should not be in our landfills. These audits allow Divert NS and their partners to determine Nova Scotia’s needs and
develop existing as well as new mandates and provincial legislation and strategies. Dale also informed us that he will be taking a new position with Divert NS as Operations and Procurement Specialist and will be leaving our Board of Directors. We wish nothing but the best for Dale in his new position, Congratulations Dale!
At lunch the buzz around the room was for DHC’s award winning broccoli soup. It was easy to tell that the passion that Gail and Derek have for the facility flowed over into the kitchen. Everything was delicious from the soup and sandwiches to the fudge brownies, it was enjoyed by all.
The afternoon began with a presentation from Barry Walker of Efficiency NS. Barry discussed Efficiency NS and explained that they are independent of Nova Scotia Power as well as any government funding, which is a common misconception. Barry discussed their many ongoing programs and services for Nova Scotians, including his favourite The Product Installation Service. This service is available to every Nova Scotian at absolutely no cost and provides LED lighting, water-saving shower heads and aerators, insulating wrap for your electric hot water tank and hot water pipes, smart power strips for your entertainment areas.
Next up was Wanda Baxter of Watch for Wildlife. Wanda discussed the correlation between roadside litter and wildlife’s attraction to roadways. Roadside garbage, which has been thrown out of motorists cars for example, attracts animals on to roadways. A seemingly innocent apple disposed of from a car window is not as simple as it may seem. Wildlife and birds are attracted to roadways due to garbage, even biodegradable apples, and will most likely end up being injured or killed. She explained that our program assists the Watch for Wildlife Vehicle Collision Prevention Program by limiting the amount of litter found on roadsides. Decreasing the amount of litter on and near roadways ultimately reduces wildlife-vehicle collisions.
The day ended with a round table discussion led by Coni Murray. Coni went around the room and asked the attendees questions which ended the day on a very interactive and upbeat tone. Attendees were engaging and learning from one another. It was a great conference and enjoyed by all of those who attended.