Editorial on spring cleanup

It feels as though spring is already here. But with the warm weather upon us, it’s time for the annual spring cleanup.

It feels as though spring is already here. This past week, temperatures have been in the plus 10 degrees range.

But with the warm weather upon us, it’s time for the annual spring cleanup. It appears as though the City of Fernie has already re-opened garbage bins around town so that residents, again, have easy access to them. One major issue that arose this winter was locals leaving waste right outside of strapped down city garbage bins. As part of a pilot project, instead of removing inaccessible garbage bins altogether, the city strapped them down so that residents could not access them. But, rather than finding an accessible bin, many locals simply left their waste right beside the bin, including bags of dog feces. In some areas, like my own apartment building, dog feces weren’t picked up off the ground at all.

Now that spring is here, it’s time that residents do their part and clean up waste that was likely hidden by snow during the short winter months. It seems as though every spring, once the snow melts, the garbage becomes more and more visible. It’s almost as though people stop being environmentally friendly during the winter and they pick up terrible habits that aren’t broken until the spring.

Last year, Lake Koocanusa had some major issues with garbage left by campers. After the Koocanusa campsite was trashed last May long weekend, Fernie, Elkford, Sparwood and the Regional District of the East Kootenay (RDEK) agreed to fund a solid waste transfer bin in the Koocanusa area. It’s essential that residents take advantage of this bin.

One thing that makes the Kootenays such a great place to live is the outdoors, and it’s important that we keep the environment clean.

Discarded garbage can draw in unwanted wildlife, such as bears, to the area. This week, WildSafeBC’s Kathy Murray released an earlier than usual wildlife update, after many concerned residents approached her in regards to bears coming out of hibernation. With an increase in human/wildlife encounters last season, it’s important that locals and visitors pick up after themselves this season.

Another thing that campers and locals must be cautious of is outdoor burning. This week, the Southeast Fire Centre cautioned residents regarding burning outdoor fires. Due to mild, spring-like conditions and low relative humidity this winter season, a wildfire risk has been placed on the region.

Despite the early spring being welcomed by most, it’s important we take extra precautions and be respectful of the great outdoors.