John Maude and Susan Quinn are being recognized for the significant role they’ve played in Wetaskiwin and area’s sustainability. The couple recently received the 2020 AUMA Above & Beyond Award and were presented with it at the Oct. 26, 2020 Regular City of Wetaskiwin Council Meeting.
Maude and Quinn are well known in the community for their generous donations to promote green energy and their contributions to the City of Wetaskiwin’s social sustainability.
“We don’t do things for awards,” says Maude. “We do it because it is the right thing to do.”
The City of Wetaskiwin nominated them for the Above & Beyond Award for their contributions to making Wetaskiwin a more sustainable city. Some examples include Quinn and Maude’s role in supporting: the City of Wetaskiwin’s Plastic Checkout Bag Ban Bylaw by sponsoring the purchase of reusable bags to be given out to community members; providing funding for solar panels which were installed at the local recreation facility—the Manluk Centre, Wetaskiwin Regional Composite High School and another Wetaskiwin County high school, Pigeon Lake Regional; and their sponsorship of tree plantings along the walking path on Highway 13 East.
Maude and Quinn also sponsored solar panel instillations for the Clean Energy Technology Centre in Drayton Valley.
“They’ve been an incredible part of our community and I think this is just a small token of how grateful we are to have you folks in our community,” said City of Wetaskiwin Mayor, Tyler Gandam, when presenting them the AUMA Above & Beyond Award at the Oct. 26 City Council meeting.
Quinn says to her and Maude, winning the award meant that there would be a spotlight put on the sustainability goals of the community.
“For me the most important thing is that it is going to bring more visibility to sustainability,” says Quinn. She says that she hopes that the sustainability initiatives sponsored by herself and Maude such as the extensive solar panel projects they have spearheaded and funded will bring more public awareness to the availability and extensive power of green energy.
Maude and Quinn are extremely passionate about renewable energy resources such as solar power through solar panels. They believe that solar panels are currently an underutilized energy resource across the province and that the benefits are vast. Not only do they help reduce a community’s carbon footprint and help in the transition to being more socially and environmentally sustainable—but economically as well. Solar panel powered buildings and homes have significantly lower power bills than those running on fossil fuels.
At Maude Financial Inc., Maude’s Business, the entire office is run on green energy. Maude says that this only costs a difference of $150 a year, an extremely affordable price to help save the planet.
“Most people want to do the right thing but they want the most convenient thing,” says Maude. “It’s so easy not to do anything.”
However, Maude says that if you want to try to do your part in helping with environmental sustainability that there are plenty of opportunities to branch out into green energy—including solar plans for those wanting to switch to solar panel charged energy where you can get returns for your investment, and you won’t be taxed.
“On top of it you are helping to save the world,” says Maude.
Maude says you really start to evaluate your impact on the world once you have kids and grandkids and start to think of the planet you are leaving them with.
“We need to get off fossil fuels, the sooner the better,” says Maude. “We just don’t seem to understand our impact on the planet.”
A very affordable way to watch your carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of plastics used in your every day life. The City of Wetaskiwin is conscious of this effort through the implementation of the Plastic Checkout Bag Ban Bylaw, however the City, like many others during the COVID, relied more on single use disposal plastics.
Unfortunately COVID-19 has hindered progress against single use plastic across the world while the pandemic roars on.
“The use of single use plastic has increased 300 per cent since the start of COVID,” says Maude.
Both Maude and Quinn know that there is a hard road ahead for Alberta, a fossil fuel dominated province, to begin looking at more environmentally sustainable energy sources and implementing them in communities, but they are hopeful for the future of green energy initiatives.
In the future they hope Wetaskiwin can be known for its environmental initiatives and green energy practices rather than its crime rates.
“We feel privileged to be able to do this and to work with the City,” says Quinn. She says that the current City of Wetaskiwin Council have been extremely helpful with sustainable energy ideas and endeavours that she and Maude have suggested and have been very open to creating a City working with more sustainable energy resources.
Quinn says the biggest thing that people can do to start implementing more green energy into their lives is to set a plan that is realistic for them.
“It’s good to focus on what you can do,” she says. “Every little bit helps.”