The Chilliwack Progress, Paul J. Henderson - December 19, 2017
Folks from sports angling and water protection groups get together for “hot spot” cleanup
Volunteers clean up garbage at a site on Sweltzer Creek just upriver from the Vedder Bridge in the Chilliwack River Vallley on Dec. 18. (Alyssa Cowles photo)
In the aftermath an expensive cleanup of thousands of pounds of garbage from a Chilliwack River homeless camp Dec. 5 and 6, local volunteers got together on Monday to cleanup yet another mess not far away.
Representatives from local sports angling and water protection groups met at a site on the banks of Sweltzer Creek for a “hotspot cleanup” of two sites littered with garbage and debris, likely the remnants of an older homeless encampment.
(More photos below.)
Organized by Nikki Rekman who is involved in the canoe/kayak world, folks from the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society, the Fraser Valley Salmon Society, the Wild Salmon Caravan and Fraser Riverkeeper took part, along with sport fishing guide Dean Werk from Great River Fishing Adventures.
Natural Resource Officer Kyle Bueckert pitched in with a one-tonne truck to bring garbage to the Bailey Landfill.
“The cleanup went well,” Werk said. “Lots of work for the amazing group but we got it all sorted and Kyle from the ministry provided a great truck for us to all load.”
And while the cleanup was organized at the last minute to take care of a known site on or near the Soowahlie First Nation reserve, cleanups are nothing knew to this group most of whom partake in more than one organized event a year.
“What a crew this morning!” Rekman said of the group of 10-or-so who attended. “In just under two hours we had two sites along Sweltzer Creek cleaned up.”
And while the volunteer water watchers are front-and-centre at these increasingly frequent cleanups, many local businesses provide sponsorship and directly get involved as well.
Woodtone Industries is one such local company, and while Kevin Raffle from Woodtone couldn’t make it Monday, he praised the efforts.
“I know sometimes it may not seem like it, but a huge difference is being made out there, and the more we keep this in the light and bring attention to this issue the better,” Raffle said.