Stanley Park – Vancouver’s crown jewel, beloved by tourists and residents alike.
And a garbage dump?
That’s the unfortunate situation according to Jonathan Weissman who has made it his mission to pull trash out of the park. And he says it’s an uphill battle.
“At first I didn’t believe what I was seeing, I would laugh because I couldn’t digest it properly.”
“We started looking around and lo-and behold, go off trail 10 feet, five feet, trails of garbage leading to piles of garbage.”
Among the debris they found? Wet clothes, bottles, cans, frying pans, carpet steamers, chairs, empty lube packets and used needles.
“We didn’t think there was much off the trail to look at and one day I saw off one trail -‘oh there’s garbage, I’ll just pick up that garbage on the side of the trail.’ And I started scouting. And this trail went on and on and on, and there was one pile after another… like a trail of breadcrumbs in a labyrinth.”
He says some of the garbage comes from homless campers, but certainly not all – and adds some of the campers actually work hard to pull trash out of the park.
City no help
Weissman says he’s called and emailed the Park Board numerous times, and despite being told they would look into the problem nothing has happened.
“From what I hear they don’t have the manpower. They lack the resoruces to do it, budget cuts… “
He says part of the problem seems to be that the responsibility is split between park staff and rangers (to pick up the trash, and take it to roadside) and city staff (to collect it).
“I’ve never seen a park ranger pick up any litter, I’ve never seen a park ranger with a picker or even go off the trails for that matter looking for piles of garbage.”
Campaign to clean
Weissman says they’re trying to organize a meeting for this Sunday to form up cleanup crews to pull the garbage out to curbside where it can be picked up.
“I’d like to have a crew of 20 to 100 people if I could! But if I had a crew of 20 people who could really go into the bushes we could probably do that in a few outings.”
He says anyone interested can contact him here.
But he says based on past experience, he’s not expecting much help from the city.
“Obviously there’s a political side to this -they don’t have the resources… but I just want the garbage [out]. It’s not the homeless that bother me, it’s the garbage.”