Large piles of garbage left on the banks of the Cowichan River just south of the Silver Bridge will be the target of a major clean up on April 29.
Peter Williams, who runs All Seasons Services which specializes in junk removal, is also a member of the Cowichan Valley Clean-Up Effort, a Facebook group that coordinates the clean up of areas in the Valley where large amounts of garbage have been left.
He said the group has already cleared the area along the bank of the Cowichan River, where homeless people are known to gather, two to three times over the last five years.
“I drive by it every day and it’s clearly visible from the road,” Williams said.
“We walked the site (on April 5) and there’s a lot of clothes, tarps and a lot of other garbage that needs to be taken out of there. Members of the Cowichan Valley Clean-Up Effort want to help the community and we don’t want that crap getting into the river.”
Jason Seward, a bylaw officer with Cowichan Tribes, said the First Nation, City of Duncan, RCMP and the landlord of the property, who is a Cowichan Tribes member, are all working together to try and deal with the problem of unsheltered people congregating at the site.
“It takes time and we just recently got the people that were staying there out,” Seward said.
“We need to clear the area out and clean it up because we don’t want that garbage in the river when water levels rise, or the people that were staying there.”
Williams said Cowichan Tribes has been asked to provide their garbage truck for the clean-up effort on April 29, and pick-up trucks will be provided by All Seasons Services and from other sources.
He said it’s hoped that up to 50 people will volunteer to lend their services to help clear the area of garbage, and he’s working on having free lunches provided to everyone involved that day.
“Volunteers will need appropriate footwear to work along the river bank and good gloves, and it would be great if they could bring picks, rakes, wheelbarrows, garbage cans and other equipment that would be useful,” Williams said.
“We’re asking that people arrive by 8:30 a.m. to sign waivers and we’ll start work at 9:30 a.m. We expect it will take the full day to clear the area of garbage.”
People are invited to sign up to help clear the river bank on April 29 by emailing All Season Services at email@example.com, or go to the Cowichan Valley Clean-Up Effort Facebook page.