The Clean Train Coalition is being honoured with the 2009 Bob Hunter “Damn Fine Activist” Award, given out by the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). This is the first time the yearly award has been given to a group as opposed to an individual.
“The Clean Train Coalition owes its success to the thousands of Toronto residents who”, according to co-chair Carina Cojeen, “have worked together for a better city.” Founded to represent the Georgetown South rail corridor, the Coalition has been working to persuade both the provincial government and Metrolinx to electrify this section of railway, which includes GO transit trains and the new infrastructure for the Air-Rail Link between Union Station and Pearson Airport. “Instead of improving our city,” the Coalition states, “this plan will harm the health of over 300,000 residents, will contribute to climate change and smog, and will threaten the vitality of 12 west-end neighbourhoods.” As I reported back in October, the Metrolinx Board of Directors gave the go ahead for an Electrification Study to determine the merits of electrifying the transit lines, which frustrated the Clean Train Coalition, who argued “this has all been done before.”
Bob Hunter, who handed out the award until his death in 2005, was one of the co-founders and President of Greenpeace, as well as a veteran advocacy columnist, lecturer, and author. He inspired residents of Toronto to focus attention on both local and global environmental issues in his role as ‘ecology specialist’ at Citytv. The award, now handed out by Hunter’s family, will be presented at TEA’s annual Ecobunk Awards at Lula Lounge on December 9.
Photo by Wylie Poon