British Columbia

Volunteers clean up after Vancouver beaches left littered with trash

Dozens of volunteers cleaned up several Vancouver beaches Sunday morning after they were left littered with cans, bottles and garbage overnight.

Cans, bottles and a full-sized grill were left near Kitsilano beach during the first hot weekend of summer

Trash, litter and a grill were left overnight at Kitsilano beach in Vancouver on June 26, 2022. (Submitted to CBC News)

Dozens of volunteers cleaned up several Vancouver beaches Sunday morning after they were left littered with cans, bottles and garbage overnight.

Beaches in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood and at English Bay, which are typically kept clean even during peak season, were both left with unusual amounts of trash on the hottest weekend of summer weather thus far.

Locals who volunteered to clean up the mess said they were upset about all the trash.

"I'm really disappointed to see it to be honest," said Kassandra Sison as she picked up litter at English Bay. "We're probably going to get at least half a dozen [garbage bags] if not a full dozen if we keep going."

Volunteers pick up trash at Vancouver's English Bay on Sunday. (Denis Dossman/CBC News)

Sison was at the beach with the Coastal Water Protectors, a group of volunteers from the B.C. Métis Federation, which had been planning to do a beach cleanup on Sunday.

'Found quite a bit'

She said the group called the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation to offer to partner with it for the cleanup but was told it wasn't necessary.

"They said 'oh no we've got a crew out there every day, you can come and try but you won't find anything' and we found quite a bit."

In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Park Board thanked volunteers who came out to cleanup.

"Though crews were scheduled in anticipation of larger numbers of visitors this weekend, they were taken aback by the incredible amount of trash left on the city's beaches — the equivalent to what was left behind after the festival of lights event, which is highly unusual," read the statement. 

Plastic cups and empty liquor boxes litter the sand at Kitsilano Beach on Sunday. (Submitted to CBC News)

Abandoned BBQ

Across from English Bay beach, Kitsilano beach and its surrounding parks were in a similar state, according to local residents. 

Photos submitted to CBC News showed unused garbage bins surrounded by trash and even a full-sized grill left standing on the grass surrounded by garbage.

An empty garbage bin is pictured at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Sunday. (Submitted to CBC News)

Cans, plastic cups, bottles and empty cases of beer were among the litter. 

In May, the park board launched a pilot allowing liquor consumption in more than 20 Vancouver parks for summer 2022, including Kitsilano Beach Park and Hadden Park near the beach. However, drinking is not permitted on the sand or near the water.

According to the park board website, staff are working with the Vancouver Police Department and the regional health authority "to ensure each site is safe, properly managed, and well-maintained."

After the summer, parks staff will present recommendations to the board for how to proceed with liquor consumption in parks based on what they learned from the pilot.

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