Something needs to be done about Sawridge Creek

Somebody’s going to have to organize a clean-up of Sawridge Creek. It’s not clear at this point who is responsible for such things, but the five propane tanks somebody tossed onto the creek ice a couple of weeks ago should be the last straw. The creek already has several shopping carts in it and any number of bicycles and bicycle parts, to say nothing of the large amounts of plastic that get blown or thrown in there.

It is ugly, embarrassing and something needs to be done about it.

If municipalities don’t have river and stream maintenance in their mandates, then what we need is a group of citizens, or an existing club to get together and make a project out of it. While we’re at it, how long are we going to allow our lookout and our cemetery to be such a never-ending trash dump?

Enforcement isn’t the answer. Waiting for people to stop behaving badly isn’t the answer. Probably the best we can do as a community is to get organized, maybe round up some sponsors and do regular volunteer clean-ups.

Update: somebody did remove the propane tanks last week – or at least put them out of sight.

That only leaves all the other stuff. Not much can be done about it right now, but come spring there’s an opportunity.

It will take some volunteers, some town involvement and some equipment. A machine or two with winch capability, for example, and a truck or two to haul stuff away.

Getting back to who is responsible, the Government of Alberta has a ‘fact sheet’ on that very question. It says ‘there is no one person or government’ responsible for the removal of debris. It is the landowner’s responsibility to get the necessary authorization from Alberta Environment and Parks.

But if the land in question is the creek bed, who owns that? Not the municipality, and certainly not the adjacent private lot owners. That leaves the provincial government. And it’s hard to imagine the province knowing or caring how many shopping carts are in Sawridge Creek.

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