Footwear with decent tread and a good attitude are about all the qualifications needed to help out with an upcoming park cleanup.
Diana Kirsh, a volunteer parks ambassador with Partners in Parks, is drumming up extra hands from the community to come and give Barsby Park a good spring cleaning.
Last March, 10 volunteers turned out for the first Barsby Park Cleanup and, in just two hours, picked up an estimated 360 kilograms of trash, including a couple of shopping carts and a headless doll, from the park grounds located on the Millstone River at the foot of Prideaux Street.
Kirsh hopes more people will come out for the second annual Barsby Park Cleanup, which happens March 12, 10 a.m. to noon.
The event is Kirsh’s initiative and not an official Partners in Parks event, but the city does help out by providing trash collection and removal equipment, work gloves and snacks and refreshments afterwards.
“Anyone can do it,” Kirsh said. “We’ve got some seniors coming to help out this year too, so it’s not particularly difficult work.”
Kirsh said the park has historical value and was once home to a plywood mill. Plywood ends dating back over 100 years still line the river bank at the site. The Millstone River, which runs from Brannen Lake out to the ocean is a salmon-bearing stream and the park is a good spot for bird watching and other activities.
Over the years Barsby Park earned a reputation as a hangout for the homeless and a site for drug and alcohol abuse. There have also been police investigations in recent years into a suicide and a murder in the park.
“But the neighbourhood is changing a lot and there are a lot of people who like to go there … and a lot of people, actually, don’t even know about it … but it’s very lovely and, yes, we’re just trying to get people out to enjoy other parks in Nanaimo and get rid of some of the bad reputation,” Kirsh said.
To register for the event, please call Kirsh at 250-755-6447.