By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

Spring cleaning has been set to sweep up the Columbia Valleys streets and yards at no cost.

Valley Pride is urging people from all walks of life to meet at 10 a.m. in their respective communities on Saturday, April 23rd to pick up garbage and trash thats accumulated through the winter in order to beautify the Columbia Valley before the busy summer season.

Valley Pride/Pitch In is an event that weve been carrying on for about eight years now and its in conjunction with the national Pitch In Week, said David Gee, event organizer. The schools get involved and each of the elementary schools sends their kids out for a (mid-week) town clean up and then, on the weekend, each community gathers some volunteers and we try to clean up the areas that the school kids have not been able to get to.

Edgewater Elementary School (ESS) students will be lending a helping hand to the Village of Radium Hot Springs for the annual Trash Bash on Friday, April 22nd to help clean up the north end of the Columbia Valley.

In addition, students from JA Laird, Eileen Madson and Windermere Elementary schools are expected to pitch in and help clean up a few days before the general community clean up day on April 23rd.

We have adults going to some of the dangerous areas that we wouldnt want to send students to try to get the communities cleaned up for the summer, said Mr. Gee. The kids do the best they can in the communities, then late in the week, prior to the event, (we) go out to look for areas that still need to be cleaned so we can send people to those areas.

He added some tough areas to access during the annual clean up include the Toby Creek Bridge area near the Industrial Park up to Peters Hill and the Athalmer Bridge leading out of town up to Eagle Ranch, which are both highly visible and trafficked areas in Invermere.

Theyre also very dangerous areas so we wouldnt be sending kids into those areas, said Mr. Gee.

The environmentally-geared event is hoping to attract volunteers from across the Columbia Valley to help make this years effort a success. It aims to clean up the collection of litter that has accumulated in the region since last spring and requires a helping hand from everybody.

We supply the garbage bags and then each community has either coffee and donuts or hot dogs something to finish off the day while people gather up and chat, said Mr. Gee. Its a very good way for us, as tourist towns, to put our best foot forward in having the towns clean for the beginning of the tourism season and to address the concerns with the environment from every avenue. Its just the right thing to do.

Valley Pride meeting points in each community

Invermere residents are being encouraged to meet at Pothole Park at 10 a.m. on April 23rd.

Windermere residents are being encouraged to meet at Windermere Hall at 10 a.m. on April 23rd.

Wilmer residents are being encouraged to meet at Wilmer Hall at 10 a.m. on April 23rd.

Radium Hot Springs residents are being encouraged to meet at the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop at 10 a.m. on April 23rd.

Edgewater residents are being encouraged to meet at the Recreation Centre at 10 a.m. on April 23rd.