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Friday, March 25, 2011

Litter doesn’t impress newcomer

Friday, March 25, 2011 –Campbell River Mirror -- 

Kristen Douglas, Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River has fallen into an “unfortunate state of neglect” because of all the “hooligans” who leave their trash along the side of the road, says one fed up resident.
Susan Black is sick and tired of having to navigate around all the garbage she sees on a daily basis, comparing Campbell River to India.
“When I leave my property I’m always stepping over chip bags, working my way around cigarette butts and banana peels,” says Black. “What comes to mind is my trip to India which is one of the dirtiest continents in the world. But when I saw the condition of the streets here I thought ‘oh I’m back in Delhi.’”
Black, who is a resident manager at The Madison apartment complex on Dogwood Street moved to Campbell River about seven months ago and told city council Tuesday night so far she is not impressed.
“It (the littering) gives you a sense that you don’t belong, that the city belongs to those who want to ruin it,” says Black. “I want to be proud of this city but when I walk outside I’m not proud anymore.”
Black presented council with a slideshow of the garbage she sees on her one-kilometre trek each day from her home to Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex.
“I’d like you to consider where this might be,” she told council as she flipped through slides depicting pop cans, water bottles, rotten food and even graffiti.
“These hooligans who litter should have to clean it up – it builds a sense of community,” says Black.
She also suggested the city adopt a program similar to one she saw work successfully in China while teaching English.
“If you give yourselves the chance to brainstorm on a solution, you may find you don’t have to spend money, it can be solved with community credits,” says Black. “In China, high school students are given credit for supporting the community by cleaning their school grounds and the surrounding area.” Rewards could include free movie vouchers or swim or skate passes.
Black, who lives directly across the street from Carihi, says she approached the school in an attempt to engage its students in a similar program but there was no interest.
Mayor Charlie Cornfield said it was “too bad” she did not get a favourable response from Carihi but recommended Black contact the Christian School, which has, in the past, sent out students to clean up the block around the school.
Black also suggested block by block competitions to encourage residents to pick up litter on and around their own properties.
Coun. Roy Grant suggested Black join the city’s Community Advisory Commission which makes recommendations to council on community beautification.
“While I don’t agree we’re in a dilapidated state, there are parts of town that need sprucing up,” he said. “I think the committee needs someone as enthusiastic as yourself.”


  1. I received the following email in response to the Kirsten Douglas article in the March 25 edition of the Campbell River Mirror.

    I appreciate what you are saying about the sad state of affairs in Campbell River - it is indeed sad but what is even sadder is the blame that is put onto the youth of Campbell River - and while I think that your comments may have some validity it has no more validity that any person who walks along the roads of our town and drops a bit of this or that. It all adds up. BUT the major contributor to the amount of litter in this town is due to our recycling program. I am not blaming the company that picks up the recycling nor am I blaming the city for their recycling program but I am blaming the PROCESS.

    Campbell River is situated in a very wet and windy area. And when you put out blue boxes on recycle day that have NO LIDS and do not follow the bazillion rules that we are given by the EMTERRA group and the City of Campbell River about HOW to fill these boxes then the wind is going to pick up that stuff and send it for miles and miles and miles.

    I think Susan Black's idea of the youth picking up the mess is GREAT but I believe that the MESS needs to be attended to by all - anyone who sees the mess bend over and pick it up. If you caused the mess then BEND over and PICK IT UP. Quit complaining and PICK IT UP.

  2. The following opinion was posted on page A7 of the March 30 edition of the Campbell River Courier-Islander
    A gorgeous spring bouquet to Susan Black, the newcomer, who publicly spoke out about the garbage and litter that is making this city look very ugly and who brought it to the attention of our city mayor and council. I too, am a newcomer but live at the other end of town and noticed the garbage and debris this last summer. I wrote a letter to our Mayor and Council in Sept. 2010 with my concerns not only at my end of town but of the whole city including the downtown core. Thus far I haven't even got an acknowledgment. I take it they don't want to hear about it. They have bigger fish to fry like building highways too narrow and changing light configurations that aren't broken.
    Increasing taxes 13% is only scaring newcomers away which will only put a bigger burden on the residents who already live here. Tax cuts should start right at City Hall and not place the burden on the residents. You people knew for years the mill was shutting down but did absolutely nothing to create a tax base here. You let the Walmart and Home Depot slip thru your fingers and now the Costco. What do you think the North Islanders are going to do once Costco opens up in Courtenay? Stop in Campbell River for a coffee? I would like to be proud to call Campbell River my home too but find it very difficult as well. Maybe instead of spending countless numbers of dollars on useless studies that we can't afford, the money could be better spent elsewhere like beautifying this city and making ourselves look more appealing to the rest of the universe so that we can re-invent ourselves in these hard times. I am anxiously looking forward to the November elections.
    Very Disappointed Big Time