West Kelowna resident Claire Dodge was walking with her son on Rosewood Drive to his daycare when they noticed the ducks trying to swim and dodge the garbage in a nearby creek.
She said the sight broke her heart, so she took to social media to ask her neighbours if they would be interested in doing a community cleanup day and barbecue.
Almost immediately, 25 people signed up to go out and clean the neighbourhood with her. Dodge said that, tentatively, the cleanup day will be on Saturday, May 2.
“I know Rose Valley is a very family-oriented community, so I tried to see if there’d be interest in making this a family activity… and it looks like I got a lot of interest. I wasn’t actually expecting all of this, but I’m really happy that I did,” she said.
“But the more interest I get, the more thoughts are going through my head as to what we can do for the kids as well.”
She said she plans on trying to get the fire department and the RCMP involved to make it interactive and educational for the kids.
Dodge said the City of West Kelowna donated some bags and gloves and they’ve also told her where they can put the garbage they cleanup for collection, but she said she still needs donations for more bags and gloves, as well as more volunteers to help on the day of.
“I just think it would be great to get the community together before the summer, help the environment, help the animals up in Rose Valley… it’s just to help out and to teach kids that we have to take care of our things and our surroundings.”
“I want to get balloons and bubbles for the kids too. I want everybody to have a fun day of it. I don’t want anybody to think ‘oh, we’re cleaning up the community.’ I want people to think ‘yeah, we’re cleaning up the community and we’re having a family barbecue.’”
She said her interest in helping to clean up the community has already affected her hometown of Aldergrove, where another woman has organized a cleanup crew based on Dodge’s suggestion.
“This is our home, so let’s take care of it. Let’s take care of the animals, because it’s sad to see the animals trying to get around the garbage we put there. The least we can do is pick it up,” she said.
She added she hopes to do this yearly, and will apply for a grant in time for next year’s council budget.