Three new projects, in partnership with coastal Indigenous Nations, will target marine debris along B.C.’s shoreline, including more remote areas in Haida Gwaii and the Discovery Islands.
An additional $3.6 million from the Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) initiative will be distributed to three organizations: Misty Isles Economic Development Society; Spirit of the West Adventures; and the Campbell River Association of Tour Operators. These new projects will clean up more than an additional 1,000 kilometres of shorelines and create 240 jobs, which include 163 jobs for youth.
“The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative has shown what can be accomplished when First Nations, local communities and businesses work together,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Creating jobs to remove marine debris and waste from our shoreline is a win-win situation that protects our environment and builds a cleaner, more circular economy for all British Columbians.”
This announcement increases the number of projects under the CCCW initiative to nine with a total investment of nearly $18 million. The CCCW initiative is an important part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan and its goal to address plastic pollution.
“The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative has removed more than 550 tonnes of fishing gear, plastics and polystyrene foam from B.C.’s beaches,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “It has also created employment for hundreds of people, including youth whose job prospects were particularly hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to seeing what these three organizations will accomplish with this funding.”
This initiative is also part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities.
Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast –
“As the MLA for this region and a long-time resident of a coastal B.C. community, I have seen first hand the problem of marine debris. Haida Gwaii is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s great news that this area will be one of the targets of the CCCW program, returning it to a pristine state.”
Jennifer Rutt, executive director, Misty Isles Economic Development Society –
“Misty Isles Economic Development Society, in partnership with the Council of the Haida Nation, are excited to be at the helm of such an important project. It will create local jobs, remove tonnes of marine debris from our extensive coastline and advance our understanding of the marine pollution problem across Haida Gwaii.”
Gaagwiis, president, Haida Nation –
“This is a great opportunity to build on the good work of removing debris from the shorelines of Haida Territory. It takes continued effort and partnership between the Haida Nation and the people of Haida Gwaii to work with provincial and federal governments to clean up the world’s litter from our beaches. These are promising initiatives that will need to continue well into the future if we are to truly have a clean coast.”
Breanne Quesnel, co-owner/operator, Spirit of the West Adventures –
“Spirit of the West Adventures is thrilled to support ongoing community efforts cleaning up beaches in the Discovery Islands, thanks to the financial support provided by the provincial government through the Clean Coasts, Clean Waters program. As a marine tourism operator, we see first hand the debris and garbage piling up on the beaches and are excited to be able to contribute to the cleanup efforts in a much larger way than we have been able to do in the past.”
Rick Snowdon, co-owner/operator, Spirit of the West Adventures –
“After a very tenuous year for tourism, we are very grateful to be able to offer this additional work to our staff including many local youth, as well as their community members and local businesses who will be assisting with the project. It is a win, win, win, the beaches get cleaned up, folks get back to work and everyone can feel good about their contribution to this project.”
Leigh Nelson, vice-president, Campbell River Association of Tour Operators –
“The Campbell River Association of Tour Operators would like to thank the Government of British Columbia for the opportunity to take part in the Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative. This is a worthwhile endeavour that will help keep struggling tour operators, their employees and a number of youths working during a time of uncertainty and reduced tourism revenues. When tourists do return, this initiative will ensure our beautiful B.C. coastline is clean and free from plastic pollution for our local wildlife, residents and tourists. We look forward to collaborating with industry, First Nations, volunteer groups, youth and a multitude of companies to make this initiative a success.”
A backgrounder follows.