On Sunday, September 23rd, from 10am til noon, we held our annual Shoreline Clean Up in the forested area of Simms Park as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up. We had great weather and the most volunteers come out to date – over 17 people showed up! Interestingly enough there was also the least amount of garbage we have seen in the park since we began doing the Shoreline Clean Up here. Either park users are littering less or the City of Courtenay Public Works Staff is doing a great job cleaning up or both! We still got a lot of cigarette butts, but only 2 needles and a lot less dog poop bags than in previous years. The wackiest thing found during the Clean Up was a flotation chair from a small boat or canoe.

Please note: If you see a needle there is a sharps disposal unit in the bathroom area at Simms, however, do not touch a needle if you do not feel confident about your ability to dispose of it properly.  You can call Public Works at 250-338-1525 and they will deal with it. It is also advisable to warn children not to touch needles or other sharp objects they may find but to alert an adult.

Later that week we also joined 2 classes of grade 8’s and 9’s from Lake Trail School on their Clean Up. They quickly scoured Lewis Park and the open area of Simms Park. We had the chance to talk to the students about the importance of the park and its waterways as well as the work we did there to improve the habitat. We also discussed the ability of garbage beside waterways to enter streams and channels during flood events and rainy weather. This garbage creates problems for fish and other marine species locally and globally. It was great to see the students out helping mitigate that problem. The most abundant type of garbage they picked up was cigarette butts.

Cigarette butts are now the single biggest source of pollution in the ocean. A new entity called the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project in the United States is dedicated to the elimination of cigarette butt waste from our environment.