No Clearcuts Kingston Inc.'s fundraising gala a massive success

November 8, 2023

Story by Christena Lawrie, CFRC Broadcast Journalist, for the Local Journlism Initiative.

On Friday, No Clearcuts Kingston Inc. hosted their “Stop the Chop, Party ‘Til You Drop” fundraising gala at Grant Hall, raising thousands of dollars which will go towards saving the wildlife at the Tannery site.

No Clearcuts Kingston Inc. has been working for the last two years to stop a local developer from demolishing the Tannery forest, wetland, and wildlife beside the Cataraqui River. The previous City Council voted against the clearcut in September 2022, but the developer appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). No Clearcuts Kingston Inc. is now aiming to raise at least $50,000 to hire the experts required to defend Council’s vote before the OLT.

While members of the organization are still determining exactly how much was raised, Kathleen O’Hara, one of the five directors with No Clearcuts Kingston Inc., estimated $12,000 was raised at the event.

The idea for the gala fundraiser was actually brought forth by Queen’s Backing Action on the Climate Crisis and the Kingston Youth Climate Action group, along with support from the Queen’s Alma Mater Society. After deciding on a semi-formal gala, they got to work and started planning the event in the summer. The event brought together various local organizations, businesses, artists, and individuals to support the cause.

The gala hosted a special guest speaker, David Suzuki, who appeared remotely on screen to share encouraging words with attendees.

O’Hara, one of the five directors with No Clearcuts Kingston Inc., explained, “I wrote to him and told him about the Tannery site and the clear cut. And he wrote back the next day and said, I'd be honoured.”

She went on to say, “He was so passionate. And he really, I think, impressed people with the urgency of fighting the climate crisis and saving nature, saving trees, saving wildlife, our biodiversity, saving our wetlands.”
No Clearcuts Kingston Inc. plans to continue with their fundraising and hold similar events in the future.

“I think they're all feeling pretty upbeat after the success. A couple of them said it was one of the best experiences they'd ever had.” O’Hara stated regarding the student groups after the event. “I think it's because when you work that hard on something, you have no idea whether it's going to be a success or a failure. And when it's a pretty major success, you just think, wow, it was worth it. And in fact, we're thinking of organizing another fundraiser because we enjoyed that one so much.”