Kimberley’s first annual Community Cleanup took place this past weekend, organized by Wildsight, The City of Kimberley and Mountain Phoenix Community Culture and made a tremendous success by around 65 helpful volunteers dedicated to making a difference in their community.
“The idea for the Community Cleanup is to be inclusive to all and to get away from that idea where independent groups are out needing to do it themselves, and instead really coming together as one community,” explained Mountain Phoenix founder Pamela Currie.
The massive host of volunteers met at the Civic Centre at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 24 and were provided with garbage bags and assigned their routes.
Held in part to honour Earth Week, volunteers also had an opportunity to get bags from the City and clean up their own area independently, rather than take part in the group event on Saturday. Currie said that because of this, she wondered if there would still be a lot left to clean up.
“I think we really did capture a maximum amount of our greatest potential of garbage,” Currie said. “We had seen lots of the community take part prior to Saturday, so in my mind I even worried — and this is a good problem to have — but I wondered would there be a lot still left?
“And there really was. Each group brought back probably the most that I’ve seen in the last few years of doing cleanups with different groups that I’ve participated in, I think this year was just phenomenal.”
Teams of all ages broke into groups and set out all over Kimberley and Marysville, some on foot, some on bikes, and collected a huge variety of garbage; everything from hundreds of cigarette butts, masks and single-use plastics, to car tires, a bumper, the bottom half of a shopping cart and a discarded mattress.
GFL provided a large bin that was available all weekend for the trash to be placed into, the Rotary Club of Kimberley provided gloves for everyone to use and high-vis vests were donated by D&B Flagging and Paper Excellence to keep volunteers safe as they worked along the highway.
At the start of the event, Currie addressed the crowd and said that her main point was that this Community Cleanup was about developing “muscle memory” in the community.
“Our community is small, and so we have some to clean up, but it’s not as big as it will be in ten years and in 20 years,” she said.
“And we need to understand that as we build our culture and we’re teaching our children, we’re creating that muscle memory to continue to take care of it, so as it grows and as it gets bigger and as the need gets more warranted that it is just an ingrained piece of our culture that we take care of our home.”
Currie added she feels very proud of being a part of this community.
“We’re so pleased with the quality of life that can be had when we all come together.”