Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards clean up campers’ garbage adjacent to Piercy Creek on Nov. 30. Photo submitted

Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards clean up campers’ garbage adjacent to Piercy Creek on Nov. 30. Photo submitted

Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards clean up campers’ garbage adjacent to Piercy Creek

Affordable housing is a major concern in the Comox Valley and elsewhere forcing some with low incomes to consider camping out wherever they can, sometimes on private fields or secluded forested areas.

Unfortunately, when many of these campers move on there is a big mess for others to clean up. Such was the case in the southern part of Courtenay adjacent to Piercy Creek, where debris from several camping sites had accumulated.

Because of concerns that the debris could have on the health of Piercy Creek and downstream to Millard Creek and the estuary, on Nov. 28 the Millard-Piercy Watershed Stewards (MPWS) organized a work party to clean up this major pile of garbage.

“The amount of stuff strewn around one [camping] site was unbelievable,” MPWS president, Robin Harrison said, in a press release. “Located adjacent to a steep bank above the creek, some of the debris was falling down the bank into the creek.”

A dozen volunteers worked for about three hours with rakes, pitchforks and wheelbarrows to move about half the pile several hundred metres along a forested pathway to the edge of a field.

“Once the field is drier, one of our volunteers with a tractor will move the debris out onto public property where the City of Courtenay has agreed to remove it to the landfill,” said Morrison. “This was a rather unpleasant task but one that was necessary. We are very grateful to all those who turned up to help.

“There will be another work party to deal with the remaining half of the garbage at this one site although a date has not yet been determined.”

MPWS has been working for more than 20 years to improve the health of Millard-Piercy watershed for fish and wildlife. For more information about the organization or to become involved, please visit www.millardpiercy.org