Local teams are forming in communities across the Sooke region as residents enter into a friendly competition on Saturday, April 14 that will ensure the area is truly spick and span prior to the Planet Earth Party: Sooke Region Earth Day Celebration the following weekend.
Organizers are inviting teams of one or more people to register to clean up sections of where they live — big or small, beach or park, highway or byway, even private garages and backyards, it’s entirely up to the person or people involved. Teams can get busy anytime on April 14 and continue as long as they like.
When their task is complete, participants are asked to take a fun photo of themselves alongside their haul, then submit it with a final registration form. Prizes in a wide variety of categories will be awarded at the Planet Earth Party set for the Sooke Community Hall on Earth Day itself, Sunday, April 22.
The day-long celebration will involve an exhibition, Repair Cafe, vendors, family activities, upcycled fashion show, evening dance, zero-waste food trucks and more. It is presented by Transition Sooke and its working group Zero Waste Sooke in association with the Sooke Fall Fair Society and Creatively United for the Planet.
Ideally, clean-up crews will be in action across the region on April 14 — Scia’new First Nation, East Sooke, District of Sooke, T’Sou-ke First Nation, Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation included. Teams are already coming together, and there is no limit to the number of teams that can potentially be involved on a neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood basis across the region.
Registration is free of charge. Bins for garbage, recycling and metal will be provided in each community and teams will be supplied with gloves and bags. (A few grabbers are also available, however it’s easy to create one by hammering a large finishing nail into a pole.) To register or learn more, please contact Zero Waste Sooke’s clean-up coordinator Wendy O’Connor by email or phone (250) 361-6965.
The CRD Community Cleanup Assistance Program is covering disposal fees, while other costs are paid by the District of Sooke, the official sponsor and major funder for the Sooke Region Earth Day Celebration.
“In order to make things fair to all communities, big and small, we are creating a formula to balance the scales,” says Earth Day event coordinator Marlene Barry. “Ratings will be based on a variety of factors: the size of a single team, the number of teams in a community, the distance or area of road, forest or beachfront covered, even the number of kilometers a team drives into the bush to track down an illegal dumpsite, of which there are sadly too many in this region. We haven’t worked out the full details yet, but we’ll have all kinds of fun prizes to distribute at the Community Hall on April 22.”
Adds Barry: “Someone asked me the other day, ‘You don’t want stuff out of people’s yards, do you?’ My response was yes, we would rather have them get rid of it free (to them) than have it laying around decomposing or dumped in the bush. Make it worth our while! Let’s clean up the whole Sooke Region in one go!”
PS Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island is entirely supportive of our event and, likewise, we’re 100 percent fans and, quite frankly, are in awe of the regularly scheduled monthly Combing the Coast clean-ups its team has been organizing since 2010. Its annual Whiffin Spit clean-up is set for Sunday, April 8 and we urge everyone in the region to get out and participate in this fun and essential effort as well!