VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – December’s record-breaking windstorm hit the coast just before Christmas, but cleanup efforts have lasted well into the new year for some communities.
On one residential island in Howe Sound, volunteers are pouring their hearts and about 100 hours of their time into cleaning garbage off the beaches.
Passage Island is a part of Metro Vancouver and falls under the jurisdiction of Electoral Area A director Justin Leblanc.
“Gangways and decks and docks were damaged and all sorts of garbage [washed up] on the shore: tires filled with styrofoam, big blocks of styrofoam, plastic, metal and even some fishing gear,” he said.
In late January 2019, people on Passage Island were still dealing with the cleanup and costs from the record-breaking storm that happened a month before (Source: metrovancouver.org)
Winds reaching up to 100km/h battered the coast and made the ocean unpassable for BC Ferries as it battered shorelines.
The president of the Passage Island Homeowners’ Association, Jenny Sandy, has requested about $2,000 from Metro Vancouver to cover the costs of a garbage bin to store and transport the trash to the mainland.
According to a staff recommendation before the Electoral Area A Committee, there are concerns that if left too long, debris from the storm could result in a lot of microplastics ending up in the ocean.
“These particles have been shown to contaminate marine life and the human food chain,” it reads.
Passage Island is not the only area still reeling from the storm. People in White Rock recently learned repairing the pier will cost millions of dollars.
On Salt Spring Island and some of the Gulf Islands — which were the hit hardest by December’s storm — there are still a number of trees down on side streets.
The December 2018 windstorm downed trees on Salt Spring Island. (Amanda Wawryk, NEWS 1130 Photo)
December’s storm has been called “the most damaging storm in BC Hydro’s history.” It knocked out power to 750,000 customers.
– With files from Jonathan Szekeres