Thirty people split across two groups spent Saturday morning and afternoon cleaning up North Saanich’s Pat Bay.
“With the go-ahead from Tseycum (First Nation), we cleaned the section of beach along the reserve as well,” said Brian Koval, biological coordinator with the Peninsula Streams Society, which coordinated the cleanup held during two separate sessions, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.
Volunteers, who received a visit and helping hand from none other than Santa Claus, cleared about 10 cubic metres of debris from the shoreline.
Koval said Saturday’s cleanup matters for several reason. “It gets people outside, improving mental health at a time where it is needed, cleans up essential habitat for a diversity of critters, and is a good platform to provide important beach education to the community,” he said.
Koval said Saturday’s event followed strict COVID-19 protocols. “The health and safety of our volunteers and staff is a top priority,” he said, pointing to various rules including the requirement to bring a mask in case volunteers were unable to maintain a distance of two metres.
While volunteers did not always need to wear their masks, they may have needed to put one on if they were helping to tie up and sort garbage at the end of the session, or in other situations.
He added that planning for future events is currently underway, encouraging would-be volunteers to monitor the society’s website at www.PeninsulaStreams.ca or its Facebook page.
Saturday’s event also had the added benefit of being a “great opportunity” for children to ask Santa one more time for something special for Christmas at a time when they may not have another opportunity to see Santa in 2020.
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