The owner and operator of a kayaking adventure company near Vancouver Island says rubble and trash are piling up on local beaches.
Breanne Quesnel of Spirit of the West Adventures from Quadra Island says her team often sees the trash firsthand and encourages her to help clean the coast of the Discovery Islands and collect debris during the tour.
But now the Spirit of the West team will have more money to spend on their clean-up efforts, as a portion of $ 3.6 million in funding was raised from the Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) initiative.
All of this is done in partnership with indigenous coastal states targeting marine litter along the BC coast, including more remote areas.
“Spirit of the West Adventures is excited to support the community’s ongoing efforts to clean up the beaches in the Discovery Islands with funding from the provincial government through the Clean Coasts, Clean Waters program,” said Quesnel.
But the funds will also be split between two other projects, including the Campbell River Association of Tour Operators and the Misty Isles Economic Development Society based in Haida Gwaii.
The Campbell River Association’s project begins in September removing marine litter, trash, and used fishing and aquaculture equipment from approximately 350 kilometers of local coastline in Comox and Courtenay.
The association’s vice president, Leigh Nelson, says the “worthwhile endeavor” will help put troubled tour operators, their staff and many young people at a time of uncertainty and reduced tourism revenues.
“When tourists return, this initiative will ensure our beautiful British Columbia coast is clean and plastic-free for our local wildlife, residents and tourists,” says Nelson.
All in all, these projects will clear an additional 1,000 kilometers of coastline and create over 200 jobs, including over 160 youth jobs, provincial officials say.
They say the number of projects under the CCCW initiative has now risen to nine, with a total investment of nearly $ 18 million.
“The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative has removed more than 550 tons of fishing gear, plastic and polystyrene foam from British Columbia’s beaches,” added Parliamentary Environment Secretary Kelly Greene.
She continues, “It has also created jobs for hundreds of people, including teenagers whose job prospects have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”