It was at about this time last year when Dave Munk of the Courtenay and District Fish and Game Club brought to our attention the amount of illegal dumping going on along the back roads of the Comox Valley.
We ran an article about the issue and the reaction from the community was immediate and unified: “We’ve had enough and we aren’t going to take it anymore.”
With that, the Comox Valley Community Clean-Up was born. I challenged the community to put their words into action, and the community responded incredibly.
Some 60 volunteers signed up to take part in the clean-up, and in one morning, we delivered more than 9,000 pounds of garbage to the landfill.
The efforts by the community have been duly noted by the BC & Yukon Community Newspapers Association. The 2015 Comox Valley Community Clean-Up has been named as a finalist for a 2016 Ma Murray Award, in the Community Service section.
And now we are doing it again.
The 2016 Comox Valley Community Clean-Up will take place April 23, and there will be ample opportunity for individuals and groups to get involved.
Whereas in 2015 we focused our attention mainly around Colake Road and Lake Trail Road, we are expanding this year.
One of the new proponents of the clean-up will be an activity called “Pick A Park,” where we are encouraging companies, schools, and social groups to adopt a specific area in the Valley and clean it up.
It could be a park in the area, a stretch of Goose Spit, perhaps a local cemetery, it matters not. Make it yours for the day and clean it up. We will be keeping everyone abreast of the participants as they sign up, with a chart running in The Record, showing which areas have been claimed, by whom, and where there is still a need.
Our vision is to get everyone involved. Schools can challenge other schools; churches can do the same. We will arrange to have the garbage picked up once it has been gathered.
We know the desire to “keep the Valley beautiful” is stronger than ever. I only had to look as far as my inbox for confirmation.
Considering how the Comox Valley Community Clean-Up first came to be, it was somehow fitting that as I was piecing together this column, I should receive an email from another group of concerned citizens, a Facebook group called “Stop Comox Valley Illegal Dumping.”
Jamie Barth, a spokesperson for this group, sent photos and sites of more illegal dumping in our Valley.
Clearly, our inaugural Comox Valley Community Clean-Up did not solve the problem of illegal dumping. We weren’t naive enough to think it would. But we did something about it. And now it’s time to do something about it again.
Do you know of an area that is particularly bad? Send me a note. We will add it to the list.
Want to get involved? Even better. I’m making that list as well.
Send your contact info to my email address – firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line “2016 Community Clean-Up.”
In the coming weeks, we will fill everyone in on the details regarding times, tools needed, corporate involvement, and even a wind-up luncheon. For now, we just ask to circle the calendar and be prepared to break a sweat.
– Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record