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By Laurel Rosene, Event coordinator
Ottawa Riverkeeper and its partners rallied over 50 volunteers to cleanup the western tip of Kettle Island on September 27th. This alluvial island is situated in the Ottawa River between the cities of Gatineau, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario. Many people personally expressed their appreciation for the island and their happiness to be able to participate in the clean-up. Some, though having lived in the area for many years, had never been out to the island. The island is oddly enough home to giant poplar trees (rarely seen this large at all) that had many people staring up the length of the tree, akin to Jack and beanstock… it just went up and up.. We had two Venturer companies out this year, that did a fine job of tackling the jobs that required a little bit of elbow grease. There was a full span of ages on the island, and everyone had one common interest – being good stewards of the earth, island, river – Thank you.
Garbage had been pilling up over the past decade and the shameful mess was brought to the attention of Ottawa Riverkeeper. This is the second year of the Kettle Island Clean Up, and it showed. There was alot of garbage, but the initial bite taken out of the garbage last year (over 5 tonnes) held it’s position, and didn’t deteriorate back to it’s former state. Peoples’ efforts do make a HUGE difference. It is never a case of “what can I really do to make a difference?” The difference was made, and it stayed.
Ottawa Riverkeeper worked with local businesses and community groups to haul 2 tonnes of garbage off the island. Interesting garbage included many old tarps, many propane canisters, bottles, scrap steel, tires , bench seats, styrofoam etc, big moulded plastic containers, and sadly lots and lots of plastic grocery bags that people have thrown away.
Ottawa Riverkeeper will be working with locals, recreational boaters, Nature Conservancy of Canada to promote stewardship of the uninhabited island.
The local businesses that supported our volunteers with food and drink deserve a hearty thanks this year: Loeb Beechwood, Loeb Island Park, Kettleman’s Orleans, Byward Market – Continental Bagel.