Don Avery, Chair of the Innisfil District Association (IDA) and member of Campaign Lake Simcoe, is this year’s recipient of the Bob Hunter ‘Damn Fine Activist’ Award for outstanding environmental activism.  The prize will be presented to Mr. Avery tonight at the Toronto Environmental Alliance’s 2008 Eco-Bunk Awards.
“Don and the Innisfil District Association have done more than stand up to developers.  Their campaign to protect Lake Simcoe from the Big Bay Point development and bring on anti-SLAPP suit legislation has been an inspiration in the best sense of activism”, said Bobbi Hunter, Bob’s widow.
For the past six years, Mr. Avery and IDA members have stood up against the proposed Big Bay Point project: a billion dollar real estate resort deal that would result in the destruction of Lake Simcoe in this area, and the construction of the largest inland marina in eastern North America.
As a result, Mr. Avery, members of his organization the IDA, their lawyers and other members of the community have been SLAPPed (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) with over $90 million in lawsuits for opposing the 2,000 unit hotel and condominium project. In addition, in December 2007, the IDA and its lawyers were SLAPPed for $3.2 million at the Ontario Municipal Board.  That hearing has been grinding on for thirteen days with over a dozen lawyers arguing the case at any one time.
“On behalf of the IDA, we wish to thank the Toronto Environmental Alliance for this honour” Avery commented.
“If these lawsuits lead to anti-SLAPP suit protection for others, this will all have been worth it and will prove that democracy and free speech are alive and well in Ontario”, Avery added.
“In the face of tremendous intimidation and bullying by the developer, we commend Mr. Avery and IDA members for not backing down, their heroic campaign has changed the course of history around the Lake Simcoe area”,  says Katrina Miller, Campaigns Director of TEA and past award recipient.
The presentation of the award will take place at Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West at 8pm.
Bob Hunter was one of the original founders of Greenpeace, a longtime reporter for Citytv, journalist and author of several books.
For more information, please call Lina Cino at TEA:  416-596-0660.