Trees will be chipped and money raised for a good cause this weekend in Mother Nature’s parking lot.
Annual charity Christmas tree mulch takes place 10 am to 1 pm Sunday, January 6 at Mother Nature, Duncan Street. Money raised will go to BC Special Olympics - Powell River, an organization which helps promote involvement in sports for people with intellectual disabilities.
“Donations are going to fund ongoing programs and pay for travel for athletes to attend games throughout the province and country,” said Dan Vincent, local coordinator of Special Olympics. “Often those out-of-town events are for qualifying for the provincials, so if an athlete does well, we need money to help them move up in the competition.”
Powell River has about 60 Special Olympics athletes who compete in ongoing sports programs in floor hockey, curling and bowling.
Christmas trees can either be dropped off for chipping, or they can be picked up.
Tags for tree pickup can be bought with a donation to the Special Olympics from city hall, 7-Eleven, Save-On-Foods, Safeway, Quality Foods, Mitchell Brothers and Mother Nature.
Residents are asked to place their tagged tree on the curbside between 6 and 8 am on Sunday for pickup by volunteers from Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 798. Trees should be free of all tinsel. If the tree is not picked up by 11 am, people are asked to call Mother Nature to let the organizers know.
Although tags have been on sale throughout the holiday season, Vincent said people should also feel free to bring their tree to the chipping event.
CUPE workers have donated their time and the City of Powell River has donated trucks to be used for the pickup.
Some people are still not getting the message about drinking and driving.
Powell River RCMP have released data from their holiday Counterattack program and the numbers of drivers driving under the influence have increased.
“It’s quite apparent that more work needs to be done educating drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving as this year’s holiday numbers are up from last year,” said Sergeant Rod Wiebe, of Powell River’s RCMP detachment.
Police issued eight 90-day immediate roadside prohibitions (IRP) during the December-long program, up from none being handed out the previous year. Wiebe believes the rise in IRPs is due, in part, to the program being reintroduced with some changes made to legislation.
Drivers are issued a 90-day IRP if they refuse to take a breathalyzer test at a roadside check or if their breath sample registers a blood-alcohol content of higher than 0.08 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
Police issued three three-day IRPs in December, which was up from one handed out during the same period in 2011.
Three 24-hour suspensions for alcohol were also handed out last month plus two suspensions for suspected drug impairment.
In 2011’s Counterattack program, five drivers were charged under the criminal code for impaired driving. Last month only one driver was charged.
RCMP does not track how many cars they stop at the roadside check.