Volunteers clean up after others

Last week I walked into Westside Stores and was immediately confronted by the owner, Jason Bellows.

Last week I walked into Westside Stores and was immediately confronted by the owner, Jason Bellows.

“So what are you doing on Saturday?”

The question was straightforward and simple enough – my response equally as simple. “Why?”

Bellows then informed me that he was putting together a volunteer work party to clean up a bunch of garbage that someone had dumped alongside a back road out in the Sunnybrae area.

“Sure, count me in,” I said. “I’ve got nothing better to do – not that I know of anyhow.”

And so a group numbering 11 of us gathered on a dreary, rainy Saturday morning at the store. We then proceeded to head out in a convoy of half-a-dozen pickup trucks.

Winding our way up a steep back road, we came upon a fellow working to clear the road of boulders that had come down with the rain that had started the night before.

Undaunted, and with spirits undampened, we sat in our vehicles and waited. The road was soon cleared and we continued on, followed by the fellow with the front-end loader. It would seem that Mr. Bellows has a real knack for getting people to volunteer.

Continuing on our way, we eventually arrived at the site where some person or persons unknown had dumped all sorts of garbage – everything from an old mattress to a metal swing set, not to mention a prescription medicine bottle with a name on it. The bottle has subsequently been handed over to the proper authorities. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Enough hands, however, made light work of our task and the site was soon cleaned up. Job done.

Not quite. One of the members of our volunteer work party mentioned that there was even more garbage, a lot more garbage, that people have been dumping along Shaw Road – just past the industrial park. So off our little band of volunteers headed.

What we saw upon our arrival was disgusting, to say the very least. We found everything from discarded window frames and broken glass to animal carcasses, an old freezer and used diapers. There was an old La-Z-Boy chair and quite a few bags of garbage neatly placed in garbage bags. I mention the La-Z-Boy chair only because ‘lazy’ might be an operative word here.

Laziness, complete disregard for the environment, who knows? The question certainly arises why, if someone took the time to put their garbage into garbage bags, did they not simple leave it out to be collected or take it to the CSRD landfill site?

Perhaps the question was answered, in part, by the fact that as we came down Shaw Road with close to a ton of illegally dumped garbage in four pickup trucks and a trailer, we saw a nice new, expensive looking, pickup truck heading up the road with a whole bunch of garbage bags in the back. I guess with having to make payments on a truck like that they have to cut a few corners. Who knows?

One thing that I do know for sure is that last Saturday, 11 people cared enough to spend a good part of their day in the rain, picking up after those people who simply don’t care.

I take my hat off to Leigh Mulroy, Alex McIntosh, Tiffany and Elizabeth Palamar, Melissa Hammer, Doug Palmer, Julian Kuna, Grant Hiebert and Sarah Simpson. I would especially like to thank Jason Bellows. “Thank you for letting me be a part of your clean-up crew.”

As for the person or persons unknown who dumped all that trash along that back road in Sunnybrae and Shaw Road, not only is it plain and simply wrong to dump garbage, it is also an illegal act and subject to fines. Your actions will not always go unnoticed and hopefully one of these days you will have to be accountable for your actions in court.