For residents in the pristine and rural Chilliwack River Valley, waking up on Monday morning often means finding trash left behind by weekend hooligans.
But the trash found this Monday takes the cake, and has left locals scratching their heads.
“A boat has been dumped on the side of the road,” said FVRD Area E director Orien Engar. “It’s a bit of a modified cabin cruiser and it’s certainly not a wreck by any means.”
The abandoned boat is more than 20 feet long, he said, and doesn’t seem to be a result of a broken down vehicle due to the lack of one very important feature.
“It’s not on a trailer,” Engar said.
How or why a boat without a trailer ends up on the side of the road is a bit of a riddle. However, Engar said it’s indicative of a troubling trend that’s been building up for years now.
“We’ve been struggling for years with the increased number of visitors to the area and the garbage they leave behind,” he said. “It’s always left to the residents and I’m looking at solutions and ways to help make a difference.”
He’s not sure who can remove the boat, or what that would cost. It’s been abandoned on Slesse Road, just off Chilliwack Lake Road.
Engar has contacted the RCMP, but says more needs to be done to keep people from dumping their garbage wherever they please.
The Chilliwack River Valley sees at least one million visitors every year, if not double that. Most of those visitors are respectful nature lovers who know the importance of packing out what they bring in, he said.
“But some are not,” he said. “It also seems that some of the trash is produced by people who live in the vicinity and would rather take a drive up the Valley and simply dump their refuse, than pay to take it to the dump.”
The list of garbage found along the roadsides, the river sides and the forested areas of the CRV over the years is bothersome.
It includes pick-up truck loads of shot gun shells, old mattresses, appliances, garbage bags, household waste, burned out cars, and now the boat.
Volunteers, including the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society, Ford Mountain Prison and various responsible user groups, will continue to monitor the area and clean up what they can, Engar said.
But the better solution would be to stop those leaving their trash behind right in their tracks.
“Boots on the ground and fines being levied via enforcement seem to be a critical missing component to persuading people to take better care of this beautiful valley,” he added. While the B.C. Conservation Officers do a good job while in the area, he said, they are spread very thin with a mandate to cover the entire province.
“The Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society has been doing an admirable job for years by organizing volunteers that have packed out literally tons and tons of debris and garbage, and yet there is still much more that continues to pile up,” he said.
Any groups that would like to assist with keeping the CRV beautiful are welcome to contact Engar at his FVRD email email@example.com.