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


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