Patience and persistence pay off
On Saturday, October 20, 2018, my husband and I attended the official renaming of small suburban park in Bolton. The name was changed to the Ruth and Richard Hunt Park in honour to two long-time residents who had been local volunteers for almost 50 years. This recognition was well-deserved and a long-time coming.
Ruth and Richard moved to Bolton in 1970. They raised four children and became active in the community. They used the local park for sledding in winter and as a playground in summer.
Many years later, they learned that there was a problem with the title for the park. It had not been transferred to the Town properly when the subdivision houses were built. The developer now wanted to build more houses on this parcel of parkland with unclear ownership. Ruth and Richard worked with their neighbours and other community members to develop a plan to save the park. Richard delegated to Town Council many times over the years and regularly contacted his local councilor for status reports. The ownership issue was finally resolved through the legal system early in 2018. The Town gained full title. The decision to rename the park was proposed by community members and approved by Town Council.
With the ownership issue was settled, Ruth and Richard added planting in their park to their list of projects. The Bolton & District Horticultural Society worked with Ruth and Richard to raise funds to get 19 mature native trees planted this Fall. This planting was possible with support from the Town of Caledon, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, local service clubs and private donors. At the official renaming ceremony, the politicians who spoke all included a heart-felt request that Ruth and Richard continue their active involvement.
Ruth and Richard have been involved in many park projects throughout the Town. These projects have all required local residents and organizations to pitch in time, energy, money and ideas. Richard earned his nickname as “Tree Hugger Hunt” because of his relentless push to get trees planted on public land. He understands the environmental imperative to maintain and expand the tree canopy after damage from wind and ice storms, death due to natural causes (beavers, deer and the emerald ash borer infestation) and degradation due to development. He works tirelessly to promote local action to make Bolton a greener place to live.
Ruth and Richard have compiled an impressive collection of photos, newspaper clippings, official certificates and letters that document their long list of local environmental projects. The turnout at the re-naming ceremony was also recognition of their extensive contributions – their children and grandchildren, representatives of participating organizations, municipal and provincial politicians, Town staff, neighbours and friends enthusiastically attended. They were teased that the weather also cooperated – it was a sunny, brisk Fall day.
On Saturday, October 27, 2018, Ruth and Richard will be on-site for a community planting event for the third phase of the Bolton North Hill Park improvement project. They will be working with long-time partners, BDHS, the Town of Caledon and the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, along with community members and a Girl Guide troop to plant 250 small trees and shrubs. Their work is not done – yet.
Stories of Ordinary People Making a Positive Difference
This is one of many stories from a wide variety of sources and a multitude of forms contributed by people upon request for my 70th birthday. They will be posted without editing, with the attribution that was with them. I will be posting these regularly until they run out next year sometime: if you have others to add, please send them to me.