Dive club needs help making the Gorge gorgeous again

Members of the Aquarius Dive Club gather off Tyee Cove in preparation for their participation in the Gorge Cleanup.

Members of the Aquarius Dive Club gather off Tyee Cove in preparation for their participation in the Gorge Cleanup.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

The Aquarius Dive Club is calling on experienced divers and general volunteers to assist in its annual cleanup of the Gorge Waterway.

The community-driven waste-removal project is an effort to preserve wildlife habitats and the beauty of the scenic waterway that stretches from Admirals road to its source, an inlet of Victoria Harbour near Tillicum Road.

This year’s cleanup takes place Sept. 17 and volunteers are asked to assemble at Waterfront Crescent beside Selkirk Green Park no later than 10 a.m.

The cleanup is in its 16th year and organized by the Burnside Gorge Community Centre.

The base’s dive club is entering its fourth year of involvement in the cleanup and the man overseeing it, MWO Mario Robillard, says the cleanup is all part of a larger effort called the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up to rid shorelines across the country of harmful waste.

“For over 16 years, thousands of Victoria-based volunteers have removed tonnes of waste from local marine areas and shorelines while preserving wildlife habitats and restoring the beauty of the inner Gorge Waterway,” said MWO Robillard. “You don’t have to be a diver to partake in the effort, anyone who is interested in making a difference is encouraged to get involved.”

General volunteers are  to bring rubber boots and gloves as only a limited number will be supplied by organizers.

Divers participating in the cleanup will be required to report the type and amount of debris on an online survey map, part of the Aquarius Dive Club’s role in Project Aware, a global initiative by divers to protect underwater environments from harmful refuse.

“Members of Aquarius and divers around the world are seeking a permanent reduction of refuse in sensitive marine ecosystems,” said MWO Robillard. “Their hope is to prevent the damage this waste creates as it contaminates some of the most remote and pristine waterways in all corners of the globe.”

In past years volunteers have pulled everything from rubber boots and tin cans to shopping carts and an entire piano.

Divers will recover the waste they spot in synthetic mesh bags and then haul the material to shore where it will be put in wheelbarrows and disposed of in a giant dumpster onsite.

MWO Robillard asks any divers interested in volunteering to contact him at Mario@robillard.biz while general volunteers are encouraged to contact Vanessa@burnsidegorge.ca.

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