Volunteers float garbage from Whistler lakes 

Bottles, cans and other discarded stuff found near popular beaches

click to flip through (4) PHOTO BY JOHN FRENCH - LITTER GITTER Stean Kury, 19, was one of the many volunteers who helped cleanup Nita Lake during the Great Lake Cleanup.
  • Photo by John French
  • LITTER GITTER Stean Kury, 19, was one of the many volunteers who helped cleanup Nita Lake during the Great Lake Cleanup.

Four Whistler lakes are cleaner than they were last week thanks to a team of volunteers. Whistler’s Great Lake Cleanup, initiated by Councillor Roger McCarthy, took place Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon.

At Nita Lake Kaela Koly, 17, and her siblings were part of a team committed to pulling any garbage they could reach off the bottom of the small lake. Kaela and her sister Ashlynne, 13, teamed with their brother Stean Kury, 19, to initially make use of a canoe, a rake and a garbage picker to salvage items off the lake bottom near the eastern shore.

One of their first finds was what they initially thought was a diaper but they concluded it might have been a shirt. The trio also came across many aluminum cans, beer bottles, dog toys and a golf ball on the bottom of the lake near the shore. The siblings found the canoe too unstable so they traded it for standup paddle boards and found even greater success.

Kury, who is studying environmental science at university in Saskatchewan, eventually decided to slip off his board and into the lake to retrieve garbage that was too deep to be recovered with the rake he was using.

While the teens worked hard to remove the abandoned items from the water, Mike Duggan of Nita Lake Lodge was also cruising close to the shore in a canoe retrieving garbage. Two lodge employs walked the trail around the lake along with another volunteer while Duggan plied the water.

Duggan said eight volunteers in total helped with efforts at Nita Lake and Alpha Lake.

“Our lakes, overall, were quite clean,” said Duggan. “We got some things from them but for the most part I think they’re now pristine.” Through his efforts he said he found aluminum cans, two mismatched flip-flops and a running shoe.

Duggan, the Nita Lake Lodge general manager, added that he’s thankful to McCarthy for launching the initiative. The hotel manager said he hopes the cleanup becomes an annual event.

McCarthy said before the event that he was looking for volunteers to contribute just an hour or two toward the effort.

“This is an opportunity for the community to contribute to the cleaning and maintenance of our water system,” said McCarthy.

Councillor Andrée Janyk and Wayne McDougall worked together at Alpha Lake. Janyk said students at Spring Creek Elementary did a good job of cleaning up the lake near the end of their school year.

“It was actually very clean,” said Janyk while she ate lunch at Nita Lake Lodge. “Wayne went around the edges in the kayak and then I walked the edges. We ended up with a very small bag.”

Councillor Duane Jackson met a group of volunteers at Lost Lake and McCarthy worked with a team at Alta Lake.

Pique will have more Thursday on the Great Lake Cleanup.

By John French

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