Collaborative Effort Restores Lands Around Millard Park
May 18, 2023
Landowners, community volunteers, private business, the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, Community Cares Peer Outreach, and Youth and Ecological Restoration recently joined forces with the City of Courtenay on a coordinated, collaborative effort to clean up a forested area spanning both public and private property near Millard NaturePark in south Courtenay.
The large-scale restoration on May 11 netted over 35,000 pounds of accumulated debris, collected by nearly two dozen people over the course of one day.
With the debris crossing public and private lands, the clean-up included a combination of neighbourhood landowners, environmental stewards, community outreach teams, individuals with lived experience with homelessness, and City of Courtenay Bylaw Services.
Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the effort was outstanding. “It was inspiring to see how well this team came together to beautify and restore this area that had quite frankly grown into an eyesore and an environmental hazard,” said Wells. “It was a fantastic day, it felt like a tangible, positive community spirit emanating from this hard-working group, most of whom had never met before. Big thanks goes out to everyone involved in the planning and execution of this major clean-up effort, in particular Muchalat Construction for donating heavy equipment, bins, and labour.”
Peter de Graaf, the City of Courtenay’s Manager of Bylaw Services, said the event was a collaboration from start to finish. “I would call this a truly community-based event,” said de Graaf. “It was a big challenge, and almost felt overwhelming, but there was a ton of energy and camaraderie in this amazing group of people that came together. And once we were done, it was so rewarding to build great relationships and to see the result of all our hard work. It was a great day.”
Garbage in forested areas can have both local and far-reaching environmental impacts. Toxins and garbage contaminate the natural environment and impact the health of native species and wildlife. Seasonal rains wash debris into nearby streams, where it can then travel far beyond the immediate area, potentially ending up in the environmentally-sensitive K’ómoks Estuary and beyond. The clean-up netted six large construction bins full of debris, 27 tires, and one bin of scrap metal to be recycled.
The clean-up around Millard Park had to wait until ground conditions had sufficiently dried after the rainy season, allowing people and heavy equipment to access the area.
Maintenance of private lands is the responsibility of landowners. The City of Courtenay maintains parks and other public lands.
To report concerns with encampments on public property, contact Bylaw Services at 250-334-4441 (ext. 5) or email email@example.com
For encampments on private property, contact the Comox Valley RCMP, 250-338-1321.
The City of Courtenay extends thanks to all individuals and groups involved with the clean-up effort. To learn more about City bylaw enforcement, visit www.courtenay.ca/bylaw