Letter to the editors of the Island Tides and Islands Independent newspapers concerning the stryrofoam cleanup at Medicine Beach

Dear Editor:

A combination of severe winds and high tides resulted in a foreshore pollution crisis on November 21/22nd 2012, at Medicine Beach, North Pender Island.  An errant, privately owned, old dock became adrift and proceeded to break up on the shorelines of Bedwell Harbour.  Large quantities of styrofoam were deposited on the foreshore of Medicine Beach Nature Sanctuary and along the shores of the bay along with the wreckage of the dock.  Most of the styrofoam was in individual “popcorn”-sized pieces up to one metre deep in places.

Thanks are extended to John Coulson for promptly notifying the Pender Island Conservancy Association of the emergency and for his determined on-going efforts to remove the plastic material.  Volunteers were contacted by PICA to assist in the difficult task of cleaning-up the beaches.  Thanks are extended to those who assisted in the clean-up: Lionel Mather who responded to John Coulson's request and kindly used his boat to recover the first section of dock, Amanda Griesbach - PICA beach clean-up coordinator, Gerry Phillips and the personnel of the Pender Chapter of the German Shepherd Rescue of BC Group, the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Unit Station 20 who used the removal of the dock pieces as a training exercise, Braedon's Big Dig'Em for the prompt removal of the wreckage of the dock and to all Penderites who have assisted with the clean-up.

Still more remains to be done to remove as much of the styrofoam as possible from the foreshore where any that remains is a hazard to wildlife.  Education of the owners of docks of an older vintage is of the highest priority to ensure that docks are secure and to encourage the replacement of the exposed styrofoam flotation with the type of product which is encapsulated.  Contact PICA at penderconservancy@shaw.ca .

Board of Directors
Pender Islands Conservancy Association