Friends of Sandbanks receive $5,000 from TD to start restoration of Dunes Trail

Dunes deposit - TD Canada Trust Picton bank manager Shelly McDonald, right, presents a $5,000 grant to Friends of Sandbanks Provincial Park members (from left) Pamela Fraser, John Brebner, John Drechsler, Brian McLaughlin, Penny Spikes, Don Metcalf, Elaine Metcalf, and Agneta Sand for work on the Dunes Trail. (Adam Bramburger/Gazette staff)



A $5,000 grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation will help the Friends of Sandbanks Provincial Park begin much-needed restoration of the Dunes Trail.

Friends vice-chair John Drechsler said the elements did a number on the trail last year.

“It’s a restoration project. Because of the high water last year, we had a lot of erosion and damage done,” he said. “We have a lot of volunteers with the Friends and we do a lot of work ourselves. This will go a long way toward materials. This is the start of it, it will kick it off well.”

Drechsler said the repairs to the 3.5-km interpretive trail probably would have been delayed unless Ontario Parks was able to find capital funds. With the TD donation, facility enhancement will take place to ensure a popular trail is both safe and accessible for park visitors.

“We wouldn’t have been able to start it right away,” he said.

The money came from donations at branches across Canada, TD Canada Trust Picton branch manager Shelly McDonald said. Currently, the branches are in the middle of fundraising for the foundation. The bank covers all the costs for administering the fund and local organizations are invited each year to submit projects for considerations. Since 1990, the foundation has provided over $89 million to more than 26,000 projects across the country. It has been responsible for the planting of 50,000 trees across Canada each year.

McDonald said the bank’s patrons deserve credit for helping the local environment.

“We solicit them for donations, so it is their generosity that helps to be able to fund these types of projects,” she said.

While McDonald indicated Sandbanks Provincial Park has benefited from the fund before, including a previous project at Outlet Beach, the funding has been spread to various initiatives in the county. In the past, a tree planting at Macaulay Mountain was also funded. Improving the local environment is something branch staff take pride in.

“It’s something that’s near and dear to our heart,” she said. “Many of us are concerned about the world the next generation will inherit… TD is committed to helping create a more vibrant planet by growing and enhancing green spaces for everyone to enjoy. Working with organizations like the Friends of Sandbanks, we can work together to elevate the quality of the environment so that people and the economy can thrive.”