Illegal garbage dumping has tarnished Kennedy Lake for locals, visitors and wildlife and two Ucluelet neighbours are hoping to put an end to it.
Jay Durante and Andy Horne are organizing a two-day Locals Love the Lake cleanup event on Jan. 20-21 in response to online chatter about the dumping that’s going on in the area.
“We’re neighbours and we were just having a chit chat about it one day and decided to go ahead and do something about it,” Horne said. “It’s bad for fish. It’s bad for the animals. It’s just bad for the aesthetics of the whole area.”
Durante believes the dumping is being done by campers who are visiting temporarily and it’s up to the locals who live here to clean up the mess they’ve left behind.
“The main focus is stopping it from happening in the future and cleaning up what’s there already,” Durante said. “It’s going to look better when we’re done and, hopefully, if it gets cleaned, people are not going to leave garbage anymore. If you see garbage then you’ll want to leave garbage because everyone else is but, if it’s clean, maybe they’ll start taking their stuff away with them.”
He added that he hopes to see the event become an annual one that leads to more cleanups of the area.
“When you go to take your friends for a walk that have never been here before and you tell them the beauty of where we live and then you see someone that’s left all their stuff out there, it takes away from the aesthetics of it for sure,” he said. “What we all moved out here for originally was the area and the beauty of it and it’s tarnished with that.”
Cleanup efforts will begin around 9 a.m. on both Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 and anyone in need of a ride to the lake is encouraged to check out the Locals Love the Lake Facebook page where carpools will be organized.
“People that don’t have vehicles can all hop in together,” Durante said.
Participants can score free hot dogs and soft drinks during both days and the Ucluelet Rent-It Centre has joined the effort by providing dumpsters to dispose of the waste being removed.
“Hopefully it’s going to be nice and sunny for us,” Horne said. “But, we’ll put on our rain gear if it’s raining. We’re locals. We dig that stuff.”
He added the early feedback for the event has been positive and he hopes to see a large turnout.
“It’s your backyard,” he said. “You don’t want people to start thinking that this is a dumping ground.”
Anyone who has spotted any heavily-polluted areas around the lake is encouraged to reach out through the Facebook page to help organizers concentrate their cleanup efforts.