Susan Black’s clean-up along Dogwood Street is growing.
What started out as an effort to pick up litter during her morning walk has turned into an army of volunteers who meet monthly to clean-up the street.
The initiative, dubbed Clean Living, has caught the attention of Campbell Riverites who share Black’s enthusiasm to keep the city clean and litter free.
“Clean Living has expanded its territory from one block to two blocks,” Black told city council a few weeks ago.
“We’re concentrated at both ends of Dogwood.”
Black recently “adopted” a 350 metre stretch (along Dogwood between 2nd and 4th Avenues), and for one hour each month she picks up chip bags, chocolate bar wrappers, coffee cups and other items that people have carelessly left along the sidewalk.
A few weeks ago, Anne Nikolic, who lives in the Willow Point Area, volunteered to adopt a section of South Dogwood Street, starting at Hilchey Road and travelling north along South Dogwood for 350 metres.
Nikolic retired to Campbell River from Port Hardy in 2009.
“What I especially love about Campbell River is its beauty,” Nikolic said. “But it breaks my heart when we see so much garbage.
“The Dogwood corridor is a really important route for many travellers and it should look welcoming. It’s near where I live and it’s important to me to keep the area looking fresh.”
Nikolic had high praise for Black and what she has been doing for the community.
“I don’t know if you know the treasure you’ve got in this lady,” Nikolic told council. “She is a dynamo, she can be a thorn in your side – but all for the good of Campbell River.”
Black first presented her case to council in March and came to council chambers armed with photos and a slideshow of all the litter she came across on a regular basis on her walk from Madison Apartments to Strathcona Gardens.
Black, who has travelled to places like Nepal, India and China, said she expected clean streets upon her return to Canada, but found Campbell River to be no different from some of the third world countries she visited.
“What comes to mind is my trip to India which is one of the dirtiest (countries) in the world,” Black told council back in March.
“But when I saw the conditions of the streets here I thought ‘oh I’m back in Delhi.’”
Black pleaded with council to do something about all the garbage but said she was told the city didn’t have the man-power to keep up with all the litter.
That’s when she took matters into her own hands and came up with the idea for Clean Living.
Since then, volunteers have met one Thursday a month and the city has donated trash pickers, work gloves, and garbage bags for the volunteers to use.
Nikolic said although the help has been great, she would like to see even more people lend a hand.
“Our vision is that everybody will take a section along Dogwood at some point and everyone becomes a block leader,” Nikolic said.
“I’d like to see people along the Island Highway because it’s the entrance to town. Even Alder is a good one because it gets a lot of traffic.”
To join the Clean Living initiative, contact Black at (250) 286-3735 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org