Jade Pascal, a friend, and the friend’s two children were thrilled to be able to walk to the Cowichan Sportsplex last weekend and watch a free movie under the stars.
Until the lights came up and Pascal saw the amount of garbage movie-goers had left behind.
"The park was in complete disarray with garbage littered everywhere," she said. "I was just so upset. This was a free event put on and their motto is to give back to the community and this is what we get?"
Movie-goers were admonished numerous times, including on the big screen, to please pick up their garbage, Pascal said, and there were conveniently placed bins at the exits of the park that people could have used.
"Why the lack of respect?" she questioned.
The free movie night has been offered once a year for the last two years, funded by Coastal Community Credit Union, hosted by the Sportsplex and put on by Sunset Cinema.
Pascal is concerned that if people continue to leave such a mess behind sponsors will reconsider the wonderful family event.
"It’s like going to the drive-in, it was the most amazing thing," Pascal described. "The kids and everything, they had so much fun and I would hate for the community to lose that."
Pascal, her friend and the kids stayed for half an hour after the film ended to help pick up the trash that had been left behind.
It was sad, she said, to have to answer the kids when they asked why people hadn’t picked up their garbage as they were asked.
Catherine Brandon Sportsplex executive director, applauded Pascal’s community-mindedness. "I am just so impressed with her level of commitment," Brandon said.
"She really has a clear picture of what the Sportsplex means to the community because it is a huge opportunity for people to be able to come to a free movie. I admire her concerns over this and wanting to get that message out there that everybody’s really lucky to have such a great place to come to, to see a movie in the summer with their kids and it’s just a matter of educating people that they’re the ones benefiting, so why risk that by behaving poorly?"
She also assured that while movie-goers may have left trash behind, the facility was in great shape following the event, as Coastal Community had arranged with the Young Professionals of Cowichan to do clean-up.
Thanks to these volunteers, along with Pascal and her crew, the Sportsplex was left in excellent condition, Brandon said, and there’s no reason to believe the free film night will not continue to flourish in the years to come.