Homeless man spreading ‘positive energy’ while cleaning Vancouver Island highways

Click to play video: 'Unhoused man cleans up Vancouver Island highways'
Unhoused man cleans up Vancouver Island highways
An unhoused man on Vancouver Island spends multiple hours a week cleaning trash off the highways near Parksville. As Kylie Stanton reports, Jayson Perry says he's trying to spread "positive energy" through his work. – Dec 6, 2023

A homeless Vancouver Island man is earning plenty of recognition for the work he’s doing to clean up local highways.

Jayson Perry lost his business, then his home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With time on his hands, the former woodworker began cleaning up trash along the highways near Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

Perry stepped those efforts up over the past four months, and has been logging eight-hour days several times a week to clean up the roads.

Click to play video: 'Divers collects trash from B.C.’s waters'
Divers collects trash from B.C.’s waters

“I believe the less garbage people see on their travels, the happier they’ll be when they get to their destination. It’s a guaranteed no-brainer. So that’s creating positive energy,” he told Global News.

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Since becoming a regular fixture on the side of the highway, Perry said he’s begun to attract positive attention.

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Sometimes it comes in the form of supportive honks from passing drivers, and other times it’s more concrete.

“What’s nice is when people stop and give me some money. People will stop and give me 10 bucks, 20 bucks,” he said.

“I appreciate that hugely.”

Click to play video: '40 tonnes of marine garbage collected from west coast and brought to Richmond'
40 tonnes of marine garbage collected from west coast and brought to Richmond

Perry told Global news he plans on taking his mission on the road this spring, making a trek from one end of Vancouver Island to the other.

He said he hopes he can raise awareness about the homeless, while fighting the stigma attached to it.

“I kind of want to create an organization doing it. There’s a huge amount of work to be done,” he said.

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“And if I can do that, then I’ll do the country the year after, which is going to be really fun. I’d like to get lots of honks and waves when I do that.”

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