Former Mono councillor and long-time community advocate Bob Shirley was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the annual Lieutenant Governor Ontario Heritage Awards. The award was presented by Ontario Heritage Trust at the annual event held at Queen’s Park on February 26, 2016.
Shirley was honoured for his volunteer work spanning almost four decades of service with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and the Credit Valley Conservation Foundation (CVCF). Shirley’s work includes environmental advocacy, community building and protecting nature through resource management planning and eco-friendly recreation development.
“Bob truly deserves this award,” said Jim Muscat, Chair of the CVCF. “He has been a vital part to the work that we do and the connection we have with the local community in Orangeville. CVC and our Foundation are grateful for the time, effort and expertise Bob has so selflessly given over the past 38 years.”
In 2005, Shirley founded the Friends of Island Lake (FOIL), a fundraising committee under CVCF. Under Shirley’s leadership FOIL raised more than $1 million in donations and contributed more than 12,000 volunteer hours to complete the Vicki Barron Lakeside trail at Island Lake Conservation Area, a 10-kilometre walking and cycling trail around the perimeter of the lake. Shirley’s personal contribution to the trail equals more than $100,000 of in-kind labour to the overall construction efforts.
Under Shirley’s guidance, FOIL has hosted seven bass fishing derbies at Island Lake Conservation Area that have attracted hundreds of out-of-town visitors and helped to promote nature appreciation. FOIL has also partnered with the Rotary Club, the Lions Club and Mono Amaranth Public School to raise funds for interpretative signage, benches and additional trail amenities.
In 2013, CVC officially named the bridges connecting the north and south shore trails of the Vicki Barron Lakeside Trail “Bob’s Bridges” in recognition of Shirley’s 36 years of service with CVC and CVCF.
The Lieutenant Governor Ontario Heritage Awards are administered by the Ontario Heritage Trust and recognize exceptional contributions to heritage conservation, environmental sustainability and biodiversity and cultural and natural heritage. The awards are given annually in four categories: youth achievement, lifetime achievement, community leadership and excellence in conservation.
Conservation authorities are a provincial/ municipal partnership. For 60 years, Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) has worked with its partners, municipalities and stakeholders to support a thriving environment that protects, connects and sustains us. CVC gratefully acknowledges financial support from our member municipalities for facilities, programs and services: the Regions of Halton and Peel; the Cities of Mississauga and Brampton; the Towns of Caledon, Erin, Halton Hills, Mono, Oakville and Orangeville; and the Townships of Amaranth and East Garafraxa. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.
Photo credits: courtesy of the Ontario Heritage Trust, photo by Ian Crysler
Photo caption: Bob Shirley accepting lifetime achievement award
Left to right: Professor Thomas H.B. Symons (Chairman of Ontario Heritage Trust), Bob Shirley and Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell
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