A diver transfers garbage recovered from the Cowichan River to a volunteer at Lake Cowichan’s Centennial Park during The Tube Shack’s upper river clean-up on Sept. 13. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)

Tube Shack’s annual clean-up shows how far Cowichan River has come

Less garbage than previous years, owing to years of clean-ups and weekly patrols

Years of annual clean-ups and weekly tidyings by The Tube Shack this summer have had an impact on the upper Cowichan River.

A big end-of-season clean-up on Sunday, Sept. 13 uncovered less garbage than previous similar events, showing that the hard work is paying off.

“The divers who have been there multiple years said it was the best they’d seen it,” said Aaron Frisby, owner of The Tube Shack.

Frisby and The Tube Shack took the lead on the clean-up this year after the Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society took a year off, following advice from public health officers. The Tube Shack had already been doing weekly rounds of the river to keep it clean on a regular basis, and decided to take the torch from the CLRSS for one last purge.

A lot of glass was recovered from the river, some of it many years old, but only about 70 beverage cans were pulled out, as opposed to the multiple bags of cans that have been found in previous annual clean-ups. The cans were mostly in the deeper areas, with the shallower parts of the river largely taken care of by the weekly patrols.

“When you go deep, they said about 18 to 22 feet down, that’s where most of it was,” Frisby said. “That’s a bit lower than our regular clean-up.”

That’s not to say there wasn’t anything recovered on the weekend.

“We pulled out about half a ton of garbage,” Frisby noted. “But that included concrete anchors and 20 feet of wire rope. From talking to the divers, in the past they’ve pulled out washing machines and 12-volt batteries.”

Further indicating that the river is healing, divers reported thousands of freshwater crayfish in the depths.

The entire Tube Shack staff and many local volunteers, including a couple of city councillors, were joined by about 25 divers from Sundown Diving in Nanaimo.

Even if the CLRSS runs its own clean-up next year, Frisby might consider another big one like Sunday’s.

“They use theirs for educational purposes too, and it’s usually around Aug. 22 or so,” he said. “We felt it was good to do our clean-up at the end of the season. We’ve always donated to their clean-up too. It probably wouldn’t be the worst to have a couple of clean-ups a year. There’s a natural relationship between us and the stewards.”

The Tube Shack had planned to continue operating until Sept. 20 this year, but decided to shut down earlier because of the smoke from forest fires in the U.S. that has blanketed the west coast, including Vancouver Island.

cowichan valley


Divers surface in the Cowichan River during The Tube Shack’s upper river clean-up on Sept. 13. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)

A boat makes its way to shore to drop off garbage during The Tube Shack’s upper river clean-up on Sept. 13. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)

Just Posted

Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
Vancouver Island may not know final election results on Saturday night

Uncertainty stems from high number of mail-in ballots

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP caution about sharing intimate images

Images are hard to take down once posted, warn RCMP

Nanaimo’s Rose McCulley brings a sampling of gloria mundi apples to the farmers’ market, where she was selling her canned fruit and secret-recipe apple pie filling. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Gloria mundi: How do you like them apples?

Giant apples are in season as Nanaimo farmers’ market vendor helps bring variety back from the brink

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Jordan Naterer, an electrical engineer from Vancouver, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. (Facebook photo)
Search efforts to resume for missing Manning Park hiker; Trudeau speaks on case

PM says he’ll do what he can to ‘nudge’ efforts to find Jordan Naterer, yet has little leverage locally

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

École de L’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
B.C. records first COVID-19 outbreak at school, six weeks after students return to class

Three cases of the virus have been identified at École de L’Anse-au-sable

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau is seen as she leaves media event during a campaign stop in West Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government

The Greens received nearly 17 per cent of the popular vote in 2017 yet received just three seats

Local candidates Pam Alexis, Abbotsford-Mission, and Preet Rai, Abbotsford-West, look on as NDP Leader John Horgan main streets in Abbotsford, B.C., Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. NDP takes snap election risk during pandemic in quest for majority government

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said the election was unnecessary and irresponsible during the pandemic

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, B.C., on October 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Liberal Leader maintains confidence as campaign tests party identity

Liberal campaign has been disrupted by controversy

Most Read