Organizations showing Mother Nature love with watershed–wide community clean up

Peachland Watershed volunteer Norm May tackles some abandoned appliances at the 2019 clean up./Photo contributed

Joanne Layh

Illegal dumpsites and abandoned vehicles litter the area of Peachland’s drinking water source and this weekend, two organizations are spearheading an effort to do something about it.

The Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance (PWPA), Okanagan Forestry Task Force and a number of other organizations are joining together this Mother’s Day weekend “to show Mother Nature some love” with a watershed-wide community clean up. 

The numerous illegal dump sites in Peachland’s community watersheds include abandoned vehicles, unauthorized campgrounds and target ranges. 

“Illegal dumping is on the rise. The task force’s goal is simple: to work to keep forests clean and to bring public awareness to the issue of illegal dumping in local forested areas,” said Kane Blake of the Okanagan Forest Task Force. “Since we started September 2015, we have managed to remove 141,980 pounds of garbage and pulled out 170,520 pounds of scrap metal from the area. That is an amazing 312,500 pounds of waste that was illegally dumped in the forests around valley.” 

The Distinct of Peachland is continually removing vehicles from Deep Creek, a steep ravine that supplies community water but is also a target for stolen vehicles.  

Just this past Saturday, a tow company and Peachland Fire and Rescue Service pulled some vehicles out of the Peachland Creek ravine, approximately 600 feet down.  

There are more wrecks a bit further downstream and the municipality will be working with the appropriate authorities to have them removed, as well.  

“We can all do our part to make a positive difference in our watersheds,” said Jack Gerow, chair of the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance. “If you know of any illegal dumping in our watersheds, such as household waste or abandoned vehicles, please contact us with the locations. We need to keep our watersheds and their waterways clean and safe for humans and for fish.”

Alex Morrison, communications chair of the PWPA, told the View that because of COVID and all sorts of other reasons, there are more people now using the watershed than they’ve seen in the past.

“Whether it’s industrial activity, or whether it’s more people recreating, more people with motorized equipment, motor boats and dirt bikes and that kind of thing, more people are becoming aware that there’s this amazing place for people to get out and experience the outdoors,” Morrison said. “There’s impacts to that because as more people find out that there’s wilderness, more people also use it for illegal dumping and that kind of thing.”

Over 15 groups are expected to attend the event, and members of the public are invited to get involved as well, keeping to small cohorts such as family bubbles.

Residents who would like to pitch in and help other community volunteers are invited to attend the event and help out for as long as they like. The event takes place on Saturday, May 8 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will kick off with a safety meeting at 9 a.m. sharp at km 0 Brenda Mines Rd, at the top of Princeton Ave. For specific coordinate email peachlandpwpa@gmail.com.

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