Members of the Rotary Club of Powell River recently set out to make their own slice of Highway 101 squeaky clean as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program.
The participants tended to the strip of blacktop adopted by the Rotary last year from Willingdon Beach to the edge of Townsite at Hemlock Street. Around 12 members cover the 2.5-kilometre stretch of highway three or four times a year, said volunteer Anne Baker, taking just around an hour to pick up any trash they can see. Baker said that many people honk or wave as they drive by them picking up garbage and that the community support is high.
The ministry of transportation and infrastructure provides garbage bags, high-visibility vests and pickup sticks for the job and the members do the rest, collecting trash in the bags and then leaving them for highways workers to pick up. Rotary volunteers found a run-over Blackberry this time out and Baker said that they even found a wedding ring during a past clean up. Car parts are usually among the discarded items, along with the usual fast food garbage and other waste.
“It’s a nice way of keeping one part of the highway a little cleaner than it would be otherwise,” said Baker. “It’s nice to be able to see the green not the white from garbage and know that it’s taken care of and we’re being responsible for other people who aren’t being responsible.”
The program is run out of Vancouver and delivered by the ministry. Groups of citizens, organizations, businesses and even families are encouraged to sign up for the initiative and help keep the highway clean. Two stretches of highway around Powell River have been adopted and another three are in the process of adoption but there are still a number of vacant sections stretching from Tla’Amin (Sliammon) First Nation to Donkersley Road south of town.
Clint Monson, area manager for the ministry, said that anyone interested in applying for a section should do so and that the commitment is relatively little. Having volunteers able to cover where tax dollars simply can’t, toward making the highway clean, is a big help maintaining the roads, said Monson. Adopters get their name on signs that are put up at either end of the adopted stretch declaring who is lending the hand.