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Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering Okanagan creek

Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering Okanagan creek - image

The Okanagan Forest Task Force is getting the wheels in motion for its latest clean-up project.

The volunteer organization, which consists of more than 1,500 members, is looking to remove dozens of discarded tires along a creek bed between Lake Country and Vernon.

Before work can begin, however, government approval must first be given.

Click to play video: 'Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering local stream' Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering local stream
Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering local stream – Feb 12, 2021

“There are steps we need to take to ensure this is done properly,” Okanagan Forest Task Force (OFTF) president Kane Blake told Global News.

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One of the biggest concerns, according to Blake, is creek run-off following the removal of the tires.

“There are chemicals in the rubber that shouldn’t be leaked into the water for animal consumption or human consumption,” he said.

While no specific timeline can be given right now, the goal is to begin the project by late spring or early summer.

Read more: Okanagan Forest Task Force now using trail cameras to help battle illegal dumping in backcountry

“I have reached out to our local conservation authority because they will point me in the right direction in terms of who I need to get a hold of (to begin removal work),” said Blake.

Once that happens, he says the process of removing the tires will be a challenging one.

“The easiest route for us is probably going to be airlifting them out using a helicopter,” Blake said.

Click to play video: 'Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering stream near Vernon' Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering stream near Vernon
Volunteers waiting for green light to remove tires littering stream near Vernon – Feb 12, 2021

The timeline in which the removal process can begin isn’t the only question, however.

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It’s also unclear how the tires got there, as the creek is a near 15-kilometre hike from the closest area that’s accessible to vehicles.

“The tires have been there for quite some time. But how they got there, we will never know,” said Blake.

The OFTF has been removing litter from local forests since 2016, and Blake and his team are no strangers to projects like this one.

“In that short time, we have already moved 300,000 pounds of garbage,” said Blake.

The organization works closely with the RCMP and other agencies to keep local forests clean, and to bring public awareness to the problem of illegal dumping and vandalism in forested areas throughout the Okanagan.

Click to play video: 'Okanagan Forest Task Force now using trail cameras to help battle illegal dumping in backcountry' Okanagan Forest Task Force now using trail cameras to help battle illegal dumping in backcountry
Okanagan Forest Task Force now using trail cameras to help battle illegal dumping in backcountry – Jan 19, 2021

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