Scouts Jacob and Joshua Cunliffe with friend Rhys White during the 2020 5th Garry Oak Scouts annual post-holiday bottle drive in Oak Bay. The outfit is holding its annual holiday drive on Saturday, Jan. 2, in the parking lot of Fireman’s park, 9 to 3 p.m. (Courtesy 5th Garry Oak Scouts)

Scouts Jacob and Joshua Cunliffe with friend Rhys White during the 2020 5th Garry Oak Scouts annual post-holiday bottle drive in Oak Bay. The outfit is holding its annual holiday drive on Saturday, Jan. 2, in the parking lot of Fireman’s park, 9 to 3 p.m. (Courtesy 5th Garry Oak Scouts)

Bring trees and empties to Oak Bay scouts and fire halls

Two-for-one tree chipping, empties dropoff near Fireman’s Park

Bring your empties, bring your trees.

Saturday is a two-for-one of contactless dropoffs as the 5th Garry Oak Scouts and Oak Bay firefighters hold their annual fundraising events.

It’s a new and hopefully temporary look for the 5th Garry Oak Scouts. Their annual holiday bottle drive is much anticipated in Oak Bay as residents plan for it in their purge of festive empties.

“This will be a drive-through, no-contact format so everyone can maintain their distance,” said scouts leader Michael Cunliffe.

When people find out who Cunliffe is, he often hears a similar sentiment, that locals are looking forward to the bottle drive pickup (usually on the first Saturday after New Year’s Day).

Unable to hold their regular meetings during the recent COVID-19 lockdowns, the scouts have focused on upgrading the hall instead. It’s the outfit’s only fundraiser of the year and will be relied upon heavily to offset costs as other fundraisers are cancelled.

“We have had to fix the hall roof, upgrade the power and repoint the chimneys in order to maintain the hall while we are waiting to meet again,” Cunliffe said.

It’s a series of moderate upgrades for the old scout hall next to Oak Bay Fire Department.

The roof is getting near to the point of needing replacement, the chimney needs to be repointed, and the old hall could use some added insulation.

“We pump a lot of heat and do a lot of shivering to get warm in the hall during the winter,” Cunliffe said.

Monies raised will also to towards supporting the 5th Garry Oak leader training as Scouts Canada has updated its standards.

“[Scouts Canada] now requires advanced training for scout leaders, and trying to invest in that so that the leaders are ready to go ahead of camping, such as advanced first aid and swimming,” Cunliffe said.

There will be more than enough room in the parking lot for both the contactless empties dropoff and for tree chipping, as Oak Bay Fire will also host tree dropoff on Saturday.

“Many people do bring trees and empties,” Cunliffe said.

Oak Bay firefighters, with help from Bartlett Tree Experts, will host their annual tree recycle program is on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to benefit Oak Bay Firefighters Charitable Foundation.

Those bringing their trees are asked to stay in their vehicles.

Proceeds for the tree chipping go towards the Oak Bay High School Bursary Program.

The 5th Garry Oak bottle dropoff is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 1703 Monterey Ave.

reporter@oakbaynews.com