Locals are urged to put their pumpkins in their green waste bins instead of placing them in Mount Doug Park after Halloween on Oct. 31, 2019. (Black Press File Photo)

Island residents urged to stop pumpkin dumping tradition

Saanich residents told to put pumpkins in green bins, not Mount Douglas Park

A decade-old local tradition of placing pumpkins in Mount Douglas Park along Cordova Bay Road after Halloween does not have the support of the District of Saanich or the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society. Both encourage locals to put their old pumpkins in their green waste bins after Halloween instead of dumping them in Mount Douglas Park.

Darrell Wick, a spokesperson for the Friends of Mount Douglas Park Society said they would really rather people didn’t put their old pumpkins in the park, especially in an unsafe manner by parking along Cordova Bay Road which is rather narrow.

“It costs us quite a bit of money to clean up after them,” said Wick. “We would do more trail restoration if we had more money.”

READ ALSO: Mystery surrounds Saanich pumpkin ritual

Wick said the society has a number of projects underway that would benefit from money saved by not having to clean up post-Halloween pumpkins. The society is working on improving the public washrooms by putting in proper pit toilets, trail restoration, and building a bridge across the creek. They’re also worried about invasive species being introduced to the park.

“One of our biggest problems is invasive species. We don’t want any garden escapees introduced because once they get started it gets really hard to remove them. Some of them are just impossible to get,” said Wick. “We’re having a hard time with the popularity of the park, which is good, and keeping it natural. The pumpkins are not natural,” he said.

A spokesperson from the District of Saanich also said Saanich Parks staff spend a couple hours in the week following Halloween each year cleaning up and removing 200 to 300 pumpkins to be hauled away and composted. The removal costs are considered minimal at approximately $600 to $800 per year. The spokesperson also said the district “definitely encourage people to put their pumpkins in their green bins rather than dumping them in Mount Douglas Park”.

READ MORE: Saanich conservation group wants to smash local pumpkin tradition

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


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