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Aug. 5, 2020 | Wednesday
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NOTL woman is on a mission to unite the town for good
Julia Buxton-Cox is working on launching a new Facebook group where NOTL residents can offer and look for free items and services. (Supplied)

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Julia Buxton-Cox has had enough of negativity and division – and she hopes to unite the town by creating a new social media group on Facebook.

“The town has struggled a bit with some divisiveness, so it’s time,” she said in a phone interview.

Having been an administrator of the “NOTL Today” group on Facebook  for almost two years, Buxton-Cox said she has debated shutting down the page for several months because of negativity and drama on the social media platform.

The appearance of copycat Facebook pages that mimic NOTL Today and another Facebook group – NOTL Bulletin Board, run by Gail Kendall – has prompted her to launch a new group to provide an opportunity for area residents to get together.

The goal is to create a Buy Nothing Group on Facebook, where people can look for, lend or offer free services and goods while meeting and interacting with each other face-to-face.

The Buy Nothing Project is a worldwide program started in 2013 by Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The project now has 3,000 groups in 30 nations.

“It is all about gratitude,” Buxton-Cox said. “I wanted to spend my time doing something good that would bring people together.”

Group members can provide or ask for whatever they need as long as it’s civil and legal, from asking for a ride home and giving away a handcrafted item to offering gardening services.

The group is not about business or self-promotion, and no trades and barters will be allowed, Buxton-Cox said.

One of the founding principles of the hyperlocal group is also to “give where you live.”

“There’s nothing in it for me. I don’t get paid. I don’t get advertising dollars. It’s about volunteering for the community,” Buxton-Cox told The Lake Report.

“I think the town is ready for the goodness and unity rather than anonymous posts on Facebook.”

Once she completes seven days of training and is chosen as a group admin, an announcement will be made on NOTL Today and NOTL Bulletin Board sometime in the next week and half. Only NOTL residents who have Facebook accounts will be accepted to the group.

Buxton-Cox said on top of spreading goodness and giving back to the community, she also likes that the project is an environmental initiative that allows people to recycle and divert waste.

“We have a lot of good people in this town and a lot of good skills. I think people are ready to jump on board of something that’s good and doesn’t have anything to do with politics or money or business.”

There will be a learning curve as the project launches, Buxton-Cox said, noting she hopes the group will bring something good to NOTL and will last for many years to come.

“Maybe in this world of social media where everyone’s sitting behind the keyboard, it’s time to come back to the face-to-face community and this allows us the opportunity to do that.”

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