Commen-Terry: Valley has year-round clean-up heroes

James Barth does his part to keep the Valley beautiful

Terry Farrell

Record staff

James Barth fell in love with the Comox Valley at a young age.

“My dad was posted here in 1972, and I lived in the Valley until 1980,” he said.

His family moved away at that time, but James returned to the Island in 2011, moving to Union Bay.

As a photography buff, James is never far away from his camera. In fact, it was his passion for photography that first made him aware of the growing garbage problem in the Comox Valley.

“I like to take pictures, but I am up in the back woods and I am noticing that I have to adjust my framing of my pictures, because there is trash in the way.

“So I said to myself, instead of complaining about it, I am going to do something about it. So when I was going to these places, if I saw some trash there, I would pick it up and haul it away. Well, soon enough I had truckload after truckload of trash.”

James became such a regular customer at the landfill, that it was suggested he talk to the Comox Valley Regional District about negotiating a deal for his tipping fees, considering he was essentially doing the CVRD’s job, by cleaning up the mess on Crown land. To its credit, the CVRD complied.

Many local Facebook users are familiar with James’s story. Just over a year ago, James created a Facebook page: “Stop Comox Valley Illegal Dumping.”

The public group has 65 members.

The page serves a few purposes. Yes, James posts pictures of any illegal dumping grounds he comes upon, as do others who have spotted trash piles. He also posts positive stories about what other communities are doing to combat similar issues.

James knows his Facebook page is not going to stop the problem. He knows his efforts, singlehandedly, won’t bring illegal dumping to a halt. But it’s a start. And if he can do it, what’s stopping others from adopting the same attitude?

James “gets it.” He knows you can be of two mindsets; either consider the situation too big for one person to make a difference, or consider that every person makes a difference.

He has already signed up for the 2016 Comox Valley Community Clean-Up. James, along with a group of people from his Facebook page, have committed to a stretch of road on Cook Creek Road as their “park” in the “Pick a Park” Program.

Let James and his friends be the inspiration you need to follow suit.

We are looking for all the “Jameses” out there; all those who are willing to do something about the problem of illegal dumping in the Comox Valley.

April 23 has been earmarked as a day for everyone to help give our beautiful community a spring cleaning. There are many ways to get involved. You can simply sign up, on the 2016 Comox Valley Community Clean-up Facebook page. You can email us, at, or call me at The Comox Valley Record office to get your name on the list.

Better yet, get your friends and neighbours involved. Commit to cleaning a specific area in the Pick a Park Program. Just let us know, via the same methods.

Last year, with our inaugural Community Clean-Up, we hauled 9,000 pounds of garbage to the dump in one day. We want to double that – at least – this year.

It’s safe to say that the vast majority of those who sign up for the Comox Valley Community Clean-Up are not part of the problem. But we can all be part of the solution. Sign up today and keep watching the Facebook page, as well as the newspaper, for more details on the event.

Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Comox woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Most categories of crime held steady from year to year in Cumberland. File photo
Cumberland crime numbers hold steady year to year

A few categories had notable changes but many were similar to 2019

The colourful Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly has been reintroduced on Hornby Island, BC. Photo courtesy the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project.
Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project releases more caterpillars on Hornby Island

Chris Junck Special to Black Press The number of Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies… Continue reading

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Most Read