Whistler2020 on the ground 

Are those trash banks or snow banks?

Whistler has had an epic snow year. This spring season has so far been marked by regular snowfalls and copious banks built of bountiful powder.

Folks throughout our beautiful valley have been making surreptitious garbage deposits in these snow banks all winter and as the snow recedes, we better get ready for a Whistler withdrawal. Prepare for the trash.

April 30 marks Pitch In Day 2011. An annual rite of passage for spring in the valley is the emergence of turds of dog and trash of people. To help deal with the trash, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) Roads Department has organized and hosted Pitch In Day every spring since 1989. And the snow volume this winter is going to cause some challenges.

"One thing about a big snow year is the litter does not get picked up by residents and staff as it is constantly getting buried by the next snowfall," says Andrew Finnerty, RMOW Roads Dept. Leadhand. "There's going to be a good mess under all that snow."

So let's pitch in Whistler. Here's how: The RMOW Roads Department organizes groups and volunteers to ensure all areas of the valley are touched with tidy. Roads staff come in and help out with the removal of the bags and to sort recyclable materials. Whistler's local grocers donate food and drinks for the post-event BBQ and the Whistler Fire Fighters Association is kind enough to flip grilled food for fun.

According to Finnerty, it may be a good idea for the citizens, community groups and clubs that come out for Pitch In Day 2011 to plan on having one more self-organized day later in the spring as some of the snow banks will continue to reveal their trash bounty for weeks to come.

The Whistler2020 Materials and Solid Waste community task force is working hard to help our valley work toward our zero waste goal, and copious litterbugs in our midst are working against us all.

Last year, in support of Pitch In Day, I did a little research I would like to share again as it certainly deserves repeating.

According to whyquit.com there are an estimated one billion butts hurled to the ground daily around the world, translating into 1.7 billion pounds of butts a year. This is a global issue we can deal with in Whistler through using the litany of trash cans around or carrying a concealed, closeable pocket ashtray.

So next time to take that last drag on your expensive cigarette, consider the value statement you are making in our resort community by inconsiderately flicking it on the valley trail in front of you.

This beautiful mountain town hosts over two million people a year who come to enjoy our community and its connection to nature, litter should simply not be part of the scene. Let's work together this Pitch In Day, and every day after, to clean up our act.

There are many Whistler groups supporting Pitch In Day by adopting a specific zone or neighbourhood as their area of focus, coordinating people to get out there and get dirty for cleanliness. There will be a group in your area, call to find out who they are and join them.  For more information, contact Andrew Finnerty in the Roads Department at 604-935-8331 or email afinnerty@whistler.ca .

All this ends with a BBQ at the Village Fire Hall at noon. Let's all pitch in to make Whistler as tidy as possible. See you there.

To learn more about other actions that are moving our community toward Whistler2020 or to get involved, visit www.whistler2020.ca .





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