Feature Story                                                                       Saturday 8, 2017


Dirt Devils

Rain or shine, a huge group of  volunteers show up to scour the banks of the Fraser for anything doesn't belong

Joe Daniels, Fraser Riverkeeper/Photos Chris Gadsden


Big haul for kids who come up with a mud-soaked  truck mat.


eavy rain that fell throughout the day could not deter upwards of 300 passionate volunteers from taking part in Fraser Riverkeeper and Woodtone's 10th Anniversary Clean-up this March 18th, removing an incredible 24 tonnes of garbage from along the banks and gravel bars of the mighty Fraser River in less than 6 hours.

"These numbers are truly astounding! It's the largest single-day haul for any of our annual clean-ups to date, beating last year's totals by a full 4 tonnes, and pushing our 10-year total to more than 112 tonnes", remarked Fraser Riverkeeper's Joe Daniels. "The waste we recovered included household and fast-food garbage, demolition waste, old furniture, vehicle seats, shotgun shells, dirty needles, and hundreds of pounds of nails left over from pallet fires."

All of this waste was sorted and safely disposed of at the Bailey Landfill and the Parr Road Green Depot thanks to support from the City of Chilliwack, First Class Disposal, Bio-Central, and Timbro Contracting.

"Even though it may be discouraging to see such visceral proof that the dumping problem in the Fraser Valley is as bad as it's ever been, seeing so many people brave some seriously inclement weather to come out and lend a hand was among the most inspiring things I've ever seen", said Daniels. "This was truly a massive accomplishment."

Woodtone's Kevin Raffle agreed. "The turnout, despite the weather, was absolutely incredible. Having 300 volunteers, and our amazing sponsors, show up in the pouring rain to give back and help clean up our shoreline is a testament to the community spirit that exists in Chilliwack", said Raffle. "We live in a beautiful place, and our community cares deeply when it comes to keeping our watershed and back country looking the way it is meant to look."

"I canít stress enough how important it is, to always pack out what you pack in when we visit these areas, and I encourage anyone who happens to witness illegal dumping or burning to safely Observe, Record, and Report these illegal activities to the RAPP line", added Raffle.

The Conservation Officers' Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline can be reached at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

Clean-up organizers Daniels and Raffle would like to thank their proud sponsors: the City of Chilliwack; First Class Waste Disposal; Bio-Central; Timbro Contracting; Barry's Bulldozing; Fraser Valley Salmon Society; Chilliwack Vedder River Clean-up Society; Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC; Vancouver Aquarium; Restaurant 62; Chilliwack Water Store; Starbucks; Marketplace IGA; Kal-Tire; United Rentals; Great River Fishing Adventures; Patagonia; Inner Vision Yoga; MEC; G&F Financial Group; Sitka Foundation; Vancity; and TELUS.

Next Community Cleanup

Community members who missed the clean-up on March 18th but would still like to lend a hand are encouraged to join the Chilliwack Vedder River Clean-up Society's Spring Clean-up on Earth Day, April 22nd, at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, 5200 Sumas Prairie Rd, Chilliwack.

For more information about Fraser Riverkeeper, visit www.fraserriverkeeper.ca   

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