Garbage cleaned up in Spences Bridge earlier this year. A similar clean-up is planned for Ashcroft starting on April 22. (Photo credit: Kathleen Kinasewich)

Garbage cleaned up in Spences Bridge earlier this year. A similar clean-up is planned for Ashcroft starting on April 22. (Photo credit: Kathleen Kinasewich)

Let’s Pick It Up campaign aims to give Ashcroft a spring clean

Grassroots initiative looking for volunteers to help clean up the community

An Ashcroft resident hopes that others will join her in giving the town a spring clean, with the “Let’s Pick It Up, Ashcroft!” event kicking off on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22.

Anne McKague says she has been thinking about this year’s Earth Day for some time, and had been working on it with the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Green Party.

“I’d been talking about it with the party, but really didn’t know how to put it together,” she says. She drew inspiration from the Saltspring Transition Society, of which she is a member, and then saw what Spences Bridge residents Kathleen Kinasewich and Dorothy and Mike Baragno were doing to help clean up that community.

Usually the Spences Bridge Community Club organizes a spring clean up of the town, but the club has not been meeting because of COVID-19. The community members took it upon themselves to get grabbers, gloves, and garbage bags and pick up some of the rubbish littering the roadsides.

“Kathleen gave me the idea to go buy some garbage pickers,” says McKague, who purchased eight of them, which are available for anyone to borrow. High-vis vests and garbage bags have been supplied by the Village of Ashcroft, which has also donated Eco-Cards so that any rubbish collected can be taken to the transfer station at no cost to volunteers.

The Ashcroft HUB also has high-vis vests available to borrow. McKague says people can do it singly, in couples or family groups, or as part of an organization.

“I see lots of discarded masks on the side of the road,” she notes. “In part, this is a response to a year of inactivity and seeing the after-effects of our disposable culture.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the campaign at any time over the week starting April 22 should call the HUB at (250) 453-9177 and register the date and time they’ll be working, as well as the area they want to cover. Garbage bags, pickers, and vests can be collected at the HUB (please supply your own gloves).

Take a picture of yourself or your group with your haul, and email it to the HUB at Bags of garbage can be taken to the HUB (far end of the parking lot), where they will be collected and then taken to the transfer station. Small amounts of bagged garbage can also be placed in participants’ home garbage cans for collection.

McKague says that people need to be careful about where they work, and avoid dangerous areas such as along the highway. She adds that if you spot any area containing industrial waste, or where someone has clearly been dumping, do not attempt to clean it; call the HUB and notify them of the location instead.

“People can do this in their own time,” she says. “Fit it into your schedule. If you go for a walk along a certain road on a Tuesday afternoon, take a garbage bag with you.

“Take a selfie of you and your haul. And if you see someone out there picking up garbage, know that they’re doing it for you and making your place better. They’re going out of their way on your behalf.”

McKague says that the initiative was born out of her desire to play her part in restoring the Earth.

“I’m trying to keep it casual and low key. If I see five groups doing some clean-up, I’ll be happy.”

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