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Squamish comes together to change its trashy ways

Pitch-In Week activities storm the town from April 20 to 26

Squamish is a breathtaking town with a dirty little secret that creates a mess in community parks, playgrounds, trails and sidewalks. It's called littering, and Gord Prescott said it's a huge problem in Squamish.

Prescott, the District of Squamish manager of operations, said a cultural shift is needed because tax dollars are being wasted on cleaning up intentional littering.

Every year for the last 20 years the community has bucked up and picked up massive amounts of litter during Pitch In Week, which this year falls between April 20 and 26.

"The volunteers do a great job of getting into the nooks and crannies people seem to put their trash. We need to get on the clean up bandwagon and tidy up the internal image of Squamish itself," Prescott said.

Prescott said the community could return to the days when they pitched in 365 days a year.

"During Expo '86 everyone was on a real campaign to clean up, and we have gone 180-degrees away from that. Back then, if someone dropped a cigarette butt, you'd get hassled," Prescott said.

Now, Prescott said, we walk past or step over trash thrown right in front of us. He said it's time for Squamish to clean up because there are over 60 garbage cans throughout the community waiting to be filled, and ignoring them means more tax dollars being spent.

"The litter piles up the day after my crews pick up the junk off the street," Prescott said. "It's a little thing but Squamish needs to undergo a mental shift in terms of littering."

Pitch-In Week is a weeklong community pride and clean-up celebration that features community clean-up days on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26. Groups, clubs and individuals can adopt a street or area in the community.

"The guts and the feathers of Pitch-In Week is to get the community to clean itself up. We will have four or five designated drop-off sites located in surrounding neighbourhoods," Prescott said.

The district provides free Pitch-In Week garbage bags and gloves upon registration. And residents can drop off the refuse they collect at Brackendale in the parking lot beside the tennis courts at Don Ross Elementary School, Garibaldi Highlands in the lot beneath the Highway 99 walkway overpass, Dentville next to the skateboard park at Buckley Avenue and Valleycliffe at the parking lot adjacent to the Squamish General Hospital. The drop off locations will be open from Monday, April 20 until noon Sunday, April 26.

Prescott also said residents can help by calling in areas in need of attention that require machines to haul out debris. Requests for these areas will be accepted until Friday, April 10.

Pitch-In Week also includes authorized free disposal days at the landfill - commonly known as "Free Dump Days," Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 26.

Residents are invited to dispose of non-hazardous residential waste for free. Last year's community clean up event resulted in a total of 2,415 vehicles visiting the landfill site during the two-day, free dump period.

"A lot of people are looking forward to the free dump days and free access to the land fill. They stock pile all sorts of things," Prescott said.

Pitch-In Week festivities also includes a Fastest Picker Showdown for council members, Howe Sound Secondary students and local media at 3:20 p.m. on Monday, April 20.

Last year's event produced more than 15 bags of garbage picked from the Howe Sound Secondary School perimeter - team Squamish Council blew away the competition.

For more information on how to become actively involved or to register your intent to participate in Pitch In Week call 604 815-6868 or email

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