The 26th annual Earth Week Clean Up of Nature Sites in Oakville
on Saturday, April 22, 2017 (Earth Day) was organized by the:
26TH ANNUAL EARTH WEEK CLEAN UP A RECORD SUCCESS ON SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017
“The 26th annual Earth Week Clean Up of nature sites in Oakville on Saturday, April 22 was a great success,” said Stephen Dankowich, executive director of the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights and author of this report.
The cool, dry but sunny morning was perfect weather for a Clean Up and the community responded by coming out in big numbers to support the annual litter pick-up.
RECORD NUMBER OF LOCATIONS AND VOLUNTEERS
There was a record 51 nature sites cleaned up by 1,162 volunteers. All coordinators did a fantastic job in heading up the clean up in their neighbourhood, distributing bags and gloves and directing volunteers to nature areas needing our attention.
AMOUNT OF GARBAGE COLLECTED
The total weight of all garbage removed was 5,050 kilograms including 750 kilograms of metal as reported by LK Trucking, an independent trucking firm hired by Halton Region Waste Management to haul away all garbage collected. There were more than 1,000 full bags of garbage collected and more than 100 various metal objects removed.
ALLOCATION OF CLEAN UP SITES BY WARD DIVISION
North Oakville hosted 36 locations including 17 in northwest Oakville, 9 in north central Oakville and 10 in northeast Oakville. In south Oakville, there were 8 sites in the southwest, 5 in south central and only 2 in southeast Oakville including Clearview Park which is having its clean up this Saturday, April 29.
21 CLEAN UP SITES STAFFED BY TWENTY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Resident associations cleaning up included West River, Bronte Creek, Bronte Village and Clearview. West Harbour is doing a follow-up clean up in early May.
Environmentalists included Change by YOUth and Books with No Bounds, the South Peel Naturalists Club and the Friends of Bronte Creek Park.
Governmental representatives included Ward 3 Councillor Tom Adams, School Trustee Tracey Ehl, Team Kevin Flynn (MPP Oakville) and the Oakville Museum.
Other coordinators included the Trafalgar Presbyterian Church, Al Falah Islamic Centre at two sites, Remax realtor Paul Butler at two sites, Pace Team with Century 21, Charterability.com, the 36th Guides of Oakville, the Social Committee for 2300 Upper Middle Road residents and the Oakville Chinese Seniors 99 Association. The 30th Oakville Brownies cleaned up at Bronte and Lakeshore Roads earlier in the week.
The remaining thirty sites were staffed by volunteers with the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights.
INTERESTING ITEMS DISPOSED OF AT THE CLEAN UP
Coordinators reported that they found a wide variety of interesting items at the event. These items included several tires, metal re-bars, wire fencing, a computer, BBQ grate, pipes, three bikes, umbrella, metal table base, concrete step, office chair legs, 2’x3’ top of a bench, a decomposed softball with moss growing on it, a criminal record codebook partially burned, mattress frame, children’s crib, blade of a shovel, lamp, a Justin Trudeau lawn sign, chairs, steel cables, a speaker cover, several shopping carts, metal signs, wooden pallet, two short metal tubes with flanges for a playground, table top, old black garden composting bin, wooden scooter, stove, large broken composter, a pile of pieces of broken concrete, 2”x2” wood, planter pots both plastic and clay, aluminum siding, building materials, yard waste, car parts, barbed wire, metal barrel, steel pole, old fence post, broken clay mask, lifeguard station toy, a 9’x12’ rug, sign wire, bike frame, sledge hammer, small broken safety box, bolts, two door hinges, metal table legs from an outdoor patio set, gas hose nozzle, metal decorative pieces, rods, an expired credit card, wallet, diapers and bags full of diapers, and lots of cigarette butts, Tim Horton’s coffee cups and lids, candy wrappers, cans and empty plastic water bottles.
A SPONSORED EVENT
The event is sponsored by the Town of Oakville’s Parks and Open Space Department and sixty-five community organizations. Their support allows this campaign to flourish.
The Town provides bags and gloves and produces a large map of the clean up locations which is displayed in all municipal facilities including libraries, recreation centres and at town hall.
Halton Region Waste Management pays for two garbage trucks to pick up all collected refuse on the afternoon after the Clean Up is concluded.
Several sponsors placed advertisements in our event newspaper which is distributed by coordinators and placed in key commercial outlets and town facilities to raise further awareness of the event. We printed 7,000 copies thanks to the support of these advertisers.
LIST OF THE 51 EARTH WEEK LOCATIONS CLEANED UP:
COORDINATORS ARE THE REAL HEROES OF THE CLEAN UP CAMPAIGN
NORTH WEST OAKVILLE (17)
– Abbeywood Drive Trails:
(Joe Di Paolo)
– Aldercrest Park:
– Bronte Creek Provincial Park – Main Entrance:
(Mike Lansdown and the Friends of Bronte Creek Park)
– Bronte Creek Provincial Park – Campgrounds:
(Mike Lansdown and the Friends of Bronte Creek Park)
– Fourth Line and Upper Middle Road
– Glen Oak Creek Trail at Monastery Drive
(Ken Brodner and son Erik)
– Indian Ridge Trail at Lindsay Drive
(Donna Sheppard and the South Peel Naturalists Club)
– Langtry Park
(Change by YOUth and Books with No Bounds)
– Nottinghill Gate Park
(Al Falah Islamic Centre)
– Sandpiper Road at Pheasant Lane
(Carol Anderson and Keith Webster)
– 16 Hollow Park
– TD Bank ravine at 3rd Line & Upper Middle Road
– 2300 Upper Middle Road: Balmoral
(Bill Campbell and the Social Committee)
– Valleywood Court
– Watercliffe Court Pond
(Bronte Creek Community Residents Association)
– Westoak Trails Park
(Karen Wilson Davis and the 36th Guides of Oakville)
– Woodgate Woods
NORTH CENTRAL OAKVILLE (9)
– Isaac Park
(Remax realtor Paul Butler and Heather Clark Smith)
– Lions Valley Park
(Al Falah Islamic Centre)
– Memorial Park
– Munns Creek East at pipeline
– Munns Creek Trails at Margot Street and Munn’s Avenue
– Nipegon Trail
– Oxford Park
(Michelle and Jeff Sholdice)
– River Glen Park: Shannon Creek Trail
(Geoff and Mary Hospital)
– River Oaks Boulevard west of Trafalgar Road
NORTH EAST OAKVILLE (10)
– Algrove Park
(Councillor Tom Adams)
– Bayshire Woods Park
(Remax realtor Paul Butler)
– Forest Glade Park
– Glenashton Drive Bridge
– Glenashton Park
(Jinglie Dou and the Oakville Chinese Seniors 99 Association)
– Lancaster Woods
(Irina and Alex Fomenko)
– Litchfield Park
(Trafalgar Presbyterian Church)
– Pinery Park – Joshua Valley North at Arrowhead Road and Pinery Crescent
(Pace Team with Century 21)
– Postridge Park
(Brad and Niki Jandrew)
– Ravineview Way + Pondview Pond
SOUTH WEST OAKVILLE (8)
– Bronte Bluffs Park
(Bronte Village Residents Association)
– Bronte Road and QEW green spaces
(Team Kevin Flynn, MPP)
– Bronte Road and Wyecroft Road green spaces
– Coronation Park to Bronte Road
(Gord Cochrane, TRACK program)
– Great Lakes Boulevard
(Maggie Smylie and Jeff Mason, Deborah Bennet)
– Hopedale Park
(Earl and Sharon Wiese)
– Kinoak Arena
(Toaster and Sabrina Dementros)
– Woodhaven Park+Sedgewick Forest
(School Trustee Tracey Ehl)
SOUTH CENTRAL OAKVILLE (5)
– Busby Park+Larry Cain Trail
– Hogg’s Back Park+Forster Park
(Ted Haugen and the West River Residents Association)
– Oakville Museum+Erchless+Lakeside Park
– Perkins Passage
(Lynne and Dan Dolan)
– YMCA+Suffolk Park+Glen Oak Park
(Heather and Emiro White)
SOUTH EAST OAKVILLE (2)
– Clearview Park (on April 29, 2017)
(Carol Deeth and the Clearview Oakville Community Alliance, COCA)
– Dunvegan Park
COORDINATORS MADE SEVERAL SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE THE ANNUAL CLEAN UP
It was recommended that we could improve the annual Clean Up in the following ways:
– encourage local businesses to take some responsibility for the mess in the natural areas around their properties; they should sponsor the event and send out their employees to help with the clean up.
– ask coordinators to reach out to schools and businesses in their neighbourhood for support.
– the Town of Oakville should do a lot more to publicize the event as it benefits the most from our work; Councillors should do more to promote it and get their resident associations involved; the weekly community update sent out on Fridays should be promoting it weeks in advance; the town should better acknowledge the coordinators by issuing a letter of thanks and congratulations to them; they should get the large maps displayed in schools and circulate the map more widely electronically; the town should advertise the event using roadside billboards (people saw the many billboards around town promoting the May 6 town Stay Calm event but none for the Clean Up).
– the town needs to provide more garbage cans around parks; for example, it was reported that they are desperately needed at the bus stops on Upper Middle Road and Bishops Gate around Aldercrest Park.
– provide leaf-garden waste bags.
– provide kid size gloves for children ten years of age and younger; available at Dollarama.
– provide garbage grabbers or pick-up sticks with a nail at each site for use by seniors and people with bad backs.
– give away more of the free one-program recreation passes given by the town at each site.
– display more event posters to be facing the sidewalk rather than facing the road.
– change the location name for Sixteen Hollow Park to the Westoak Boulevard Trails.
– encourage schools to construct an enclosure around their dumpsters.
– ask scouts, cubs, guides and brownies to go to locations not covered by the clean up so as not to duplicate our efforts.
– build more awareness by hosting a rally beforehand.
– we are distributing Tim Horton sponsored garbage bags provided by Pitch-In Canada so maybe Tim’s can provide coffee and donuts for each location and distributed by them from each store closest to the clean up locations.
– speak to Macdonald’s and Tim Horton’s as 80% of garbage picked up is their garbage; maybe they could sponsor some garbage cans.
– add a second Clean Up in the fall.
– speak to the principals of high schools to advocate that they educate their students not to litter.
The annual Clean Up encourages people to take care of their own neighbourhood and it has substantially contributed to building community by bringing neighbours together. In addition, it saves tens of thousands of dollars a year for the local taxpayer and significantly boosts property values.
The Clean Up campaign promotes awareness and respect for biodiversity, local nature and our trails, parks and waterways. We are beautifying the local natural environment, protecting wildlife and benefiting people’s health while doing our best to encourage environmental activism at Oakville schools and throughout our community.
THE MANY BENEFITS OF THE ANNUAL CLEAN UP
“This annual event is the largest community-wide Clean Up in Canada during Earth Week. 79,500 students and citizens have now participated since 1992,” remarked Don Meade, a Board Member.
“The Clean Up is a family activity that will be remembered, cherished and talked about for years to come. By participating, parents are educating their children about the importance of the natural environment in a very practical way,” said Mr. Meade.
“The Clean Up will allow everyone to enjoy garbage-free parks and trails this spring and summer. We are very grateful for the financial support of sixty-six local sponsors including four participating schools. We encourage and need more local organizations to sponsor the event. As the environment is everyone’s responsibility, we are very pleased that so many people have volunteered to make a big difference for our local environment in Oakville over the past twenty-six years. Let’s make the 27th annual clean up our best ever in 2018,” he concluded.
EARTH DAY CELEBRATIONS CONTINUED AFTER CLEAN UP WAS OVER
The annual Clean Up is a special occasion for many neighbourhoods. People renew acquaintances with friends and neighbours at the Clean Up. Organizations gather their members and bring them together in a positive and constructive activity at their locations. Some coordinators and organizations hosted a BBQ for the volunteers or treated their volunteers with drinks and snacks to enjoy during and after the event. Some coordinators reached out to local businesses for support and donations of food or snacks for their volunteers.
This spring, seven locations in south Oakville thoroughly enjoyed pizza donated by Panago Pizza South Oakville on Cornwall Road after their clean up was completed. The immense generosity of Panago Pizza was greatly appreciated by volunteers at Coronation Park, Woodhaven Park and Sedgewick Forest, Hogg’s Back Park and Forster Park, Perkins Passage, the YMCA, Busby Park and at Dunvegan Park.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2018
We look forward to everyone pitching in again in 2018 as our local environment truly needs your attention and support. Help clean up a park, trail, ravine, green space, woodlot or lakefront near to where you live.
It is wonderful that we started with just one location in 1992 and that the campaign has grown so much since. Individuals, families, students, clubs, not for profit groups, business and governmental organizations will be participating again in 2018.
HISTORY OF THE EARTH WEEK CLEAN UP
The campaign has been a real grass roots accomplishment. Over the years, citizens concerned about littering and the protection of our local natural environment became coordinators of the Clean Up in their neighbourhood.
Since 1992, there have been a total of 140 location coordinators. There were thirteen new coordinators in 2017.
Some locations lasted for only one year while others have been ongoing almost since the start. Many locations have had changes of coordinators with one person finding someone else to replace them and keep the clean up going in that neighbourhood. As well, many locations suspended their clean up because the coordinator reported that the clean up was so successful that their green space no longer required their annual maintenance of it. Many past coordinators moved away to another community.
Up to and including the 2017 Clean Up, we have organized a total of 709 neighbourhood clean ups. We began with one in 1992, five in 1993, six in 1994 and 1995, twelve in 1996, twenty-seven locations in 2002, thirty-eight sites in 2004, forty-seven in 2016 and a record fifty-one locations this year.
Since 1992, when there were thirty volunteers cleaning up under the Bronte Road Bridge at the QEW, the campaign has involved more than 79,500 students and citizens.
Coordinators have primarily included individuals, families or groups of families working together. Over the years, other not for profit organizations also have played a large role in encouraging participation in this community-wide effort.
All past and present coordinators truly have made a big difference in our community. They took the bold step of becoming an organizer for the local environment. As a volunteer coordinator, they have become a source of inspiration for others who share their concerns and joined in on clean up day.
Coordinators have regularly reported that their neighbourhood has become a lot cleaner and a lot more liveable thanks to the annual clean up. Many have said that they have less and less to clean up each year with the larger pieces of garbage long ago removed.
The response from the community for this event has been tremendous. Thank you very much!
It’s not too early to set up a new location for clean up in 2018. For more information, please contact the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights at (905) 849-5501, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to P.O. Box 52007, Oakville L6J 7N5.