Campbell River’s watershed is certainly cleaner, but there’s more work to do yet, according to the city’s water operator Brian McLoughlin.
August was watershed clean-up month for the city.
Heavy equipment removed large items of illegally dumped garbage from the watershed area near John Hart Lake throughout the month, and volunteers picked up smaller items on Sat. Aug. 27 during the third annual watershed clean-up day.
This year about 2,470 kilograms were picked up on watershed clean-up day, which is 220 kilograms more than the previous year. But the addition of heavy equipment to remove large items enabled the city to collect a whopping total of about 476,190 kilograms of illegally dumped garbage throughout the month.
“It’s astonishing how much was removed,” said McLoughlin.
The targeted area was access roads off Highway 28 between the cemetery and John Hart Rd., and although McLoughlin said he can see a big improvement, there is still garbage out there.
“There’s still a lot of work to do along the access roads,” added McLoughlin. “For now, we’ve made a major dent in cleaning up the mess.”
Couches, stereos, tires, mattresses, and construction materials were picked up by hand during the volunteer clean-up day.
And larger items like old appliances and vehicles were removed by the heavy equipment, some of which had been rusting away in the watershed area for about 20 years, according to McLoughlin.
Four vehicles have been removed from the area so far, and McLoughlin has seen another four buried in the sand pit at the end of John Hart Road.
These vehicles have been stripped of identification like serial numbers, and have been burned before being left in the watershed, so the original owners remain unknown.
McLoughlin said one of the main aims, besides having cleaner water, is to discourage future illegal dumping.
“Just by removing it, we’ve really increased the value of the watershed,” he said.
“Part of what we were trying to achieve was cleaning up all the garbage so it doesn’t look acceptable to dump more.”
The city plans to keep more of a presence out in the watershed area to discourage future dumping as well, according to McLoughlin.
Campbell River water supervisor Jenny Brun agrees, and adds that the city will be putting up blockades on the access roads in the near future to stop people from illegally dumping their garbage.
“We want to get them in as soon as possible now that it’s clean,” explained Brun.