SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Mike Critch is saddened and frustrated with the amount of litter in the east end area of Springdale, so he decided to do something about it.
He posted to social media a $250 donation to a charity group willing to clean up the garbage strewn along the side of the road. He would provide a truck and trailer, garbage bags and gloves, as long as the group would supply the labour.
“It is a lot of area to cover and a lot of work for a couple of people, so I thought it would be a good way to give back to a community group that needed some fundraising help,” Critch said.
It was an idea he and his girlfriend, Karen Boyd, came up with. It was well received in the community, with messages of praise coming in from all over. A friend, and Springdale native, Jimmy James of Alberta also matched the $250 donation for the cleanup.
A pair of groups have come forward — the 837 Northeast Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron (RCACS) and the Salvation Army youth group — and they will be out early Saturday morning until the area is cleaned.
A number of people in the town have also expressed interest in showing up to lend a hand.
It will be $250 well invested, according to Critch.
“The response has been great,” he said. “For me, this will be aesthetically pleasing, because I won’t see all the garbage on the side of the road, but I am most happy to help out a group in town that needs some fundraising.”
It was kind of the opposite lure for Jonathan Edison, commanding officer of the air cadet squadron. He said the money is a nice little bonus, but he felt it would be a nice way for the youth cadets to give back to the community.
“The air cadets is a community group that is big on the environment, and this type of cleanup fits in with that,” Edison said. “We try to do our part, try to clean up and make the neighbourhoods a little nicer. It is a good thing for the kids to do, to be exposed to the public in a way that shows they are doing something good.”
Edison said youth often get a bad reputation in a community. In this particular incident, a lot of the blame gets cast to youth when it comes to littering. The air cadet leader says it may be the case sometimes, but the blame can’t all be placed on youth. He said adults are as guilty of littering and disregard of the environment.
Critch, a seasonal construction worker, has been back in his hometown of Springdale for over two years. He, and his family, has land in that east end area. Seeing the mess that has been thrown and dumped — everything from fast food trash to beer bottles and a truck load of shingles to even a discarded boat — along this road is a sad state, he said.
“I drive that road every day, and every day I see that mess,” he said. “I have a shop there and I am building a house there. I am going to live in that area for the rest of my life.”
It is a popular area for recreational vehicle users, woodcutters, and hunters, he said, and they deserve to use this area in its pristine state. It is also now used by cabin owners as far away as Salt Pond and Wards Harbour. Along the road is spectacular views and the popular glassy beach. The town and people of the area are promoting this as part of a tourist destination, and Critch believes the area needs to be treated as such — by the people (keeping it clean) and by the town (maintenance and cleaning).
After the road was developed and extended as a forestry access point, it became more popular as a place to drive by or hang out, he said. With that increased activity, came more garbage. He has called both the town and province at times to have large items illegally dumped in the area removed.