The owner and operator of a kayaking adventure business just off Vancouver Island says debris and garbage is piling up on local beaches.
Breanne Quesnel of Spirit of the West Adventures, based on Quadra Island, says her team often see the trash firsthand, prompting them to support shoreline cleanup in the Discovery Islands, picking up debris during a tour.
But now the Spirit of the West team will have more money for their cleanup project efforts, with $ 3.6 million in Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) initiative funds. who is heading towards them.
All this in partnership with coastal Indigenous Nations, targeting marine debris along the BC coastline, including more remote areas.
“Spirit of the West Adventures is delighted to support the community’s continued efforts to clean up the beaches of the Discovery Islands, with financial support provided by 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 Tour Operators Association and the Misty Isles Economic Development Society of Haida Gwaii.
Starting in September, the Campbell River Association’s project aims to remove marine debris, garbage, and used fishing and aquaculture gear from approximately 350 kilometers of shoreline locally, in Comox and Courtenay.
Association vice-president Leigh Nelson said the “laudable effort” will help struggling tour operators, their employees and many young people to work during a time of uncertainty and shrinking tourism revenues.
“When tourists return, this initiative will ensure that our beautiful BC coastline is clean and free of plastic pollution for our local wildlife, residents and tourists,” said Nelson.
Overall, these projects will clean up more than 1,000 additional kilometers of shoreline and create more than 200 jobs, including more than 160 jobs for young people, provincial officials note.
They say the number of projects under the CCCW initiative has now grown to nine, with a total investment of nearly $ 18 million.
“The ‘Clean Coast, Clean Waters’ initiative has removed over 550 tonnes of fishing gear, plastic and styrofoam from beaches in British Columbia,” said Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Kelly Greene.
She continues, “It has also created jobs for hundreds of people, including young people whose job prospects have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “