Thank you for making river clean-up a success
Another tremendous community effort helped our heritage river once again this August. I am writing to express thanks to the 145 volunteers, from as far away as Germany, who participated on Sunday, Aug. 18 in the annual upper Cowichan River corridor clean-up and bottle drive in Lake Cowichan.
Over 1,000 hours of volunteer time went into the planning and implementation of this event. Hosted by the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society (CLRSS), this 11th annual clean-up recovered over 675 kg of unnatural materials from the river, which included 299 cans and bottles. Of that, 395 kg was pure garbage! The crew was able to recycle 270 kg, with the assistance and support of the CVRD, which waives the tipping fees for volunteer groups who assist in keeping our Valley clean. Eleven thousand three hundred bottles and cans were also collected from the community, earning CLRSS $1,040 for its ongoing programs and expenses.
More thanks go to the local Lake Cowichan businesses of Tim Horton’s, Country Grocer and Jake’s at the Lake. Liz and Lance from Jake’s not only donated the food, but once again they sent chefs to cook the outdoor lunch on a portable barbecue, as the volunteers celebrated a satisfying day of community service.
Each year local businesses donate funds to support clean-up costs and this year was no different. To date, Lake Cowichan’s Orca tubing company, Irly Bird, Black Jack’s Sweep and Services, Remedy Salon, RBC – Lake Cowichan branch and Home Hardware all gave cash, or goods and supplies to the cause. Out of town supporters included Sundown Diving, the Cowichan Valley Voice and Western Stevedoring.
For the last several years of the event, the Cowichan Watershed Board has complemented the work of the CLRSS by coordinating a second, lower river clean-up one week later. It too was a tremendous success.
Special Lake Cowichan fisherfolk and environmentalists such as Joe Saysell, Mike Saysell, Chris Morley, Rod Tipton, Parker Jefferson and Gary Matson were but a few of the boaters, who along with 10 kayakers, led by team organizer Rick Bryan, spent three hours scouring the river’s bottom and edges for popped tubes, lawn chairs, can, bottles and metal debris.
Of course, the deepest pools always have the most build-up of glass and debris littering the bottom. These are also most difficult places for a novice to reach. Sundown Diving on Esplanade in Nanaimo once again supported the clean-up with divers and expertise.
It was true success, but as with all volunteer endeavours, nothing is achieved without a collective will and happy camaraderie. Thanks all.
Judy Brayden and Diana Gunderson
2019 CLRSS River Clean-up coordinators