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20 years of keeping the neighbourhood park clean

'Us being a part of the community means looking after it'

A broken Christmas tree, an old lawn ornament and bags of concrete were some items found during an annual clean-up event at Castlebury Park Saturday morning.

The 20th Annual Castlebury Park Clean-Up party saw organizer Josh Cameron and eight other volunteers spend three hours picking up litter that had been tossed throughout the park.

“It hasn’t been that different, but getting it organized was a bit rushed because up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to do this,” says Cameron about this year’s clean-up.

He mentions the 20th annual event was supposed to take place last year, but was cancelled due to the pandemic. 

Before that, Cameron had organized a park clean-up at Castlebury Park every year since he was four.

Often he invited city councillors and ran promotions in local newspapers in an effort to gather as many volunteers as possible.

“I would walk through the park and I didn’t like seeing all the trash that was building up,” he says, “So I decided to do something about it.”

When he and his family first started doing this, Cameron says they could collect between 30 to 40 bags. That number has now gone down to around 20 bags.

“Over the years we have certainly noticed less build’s been nice,” he says.

“I’d like to think it’s people being more aware.”

He also notes it’s hard to tell how many bags of garbage they’ll collect this year.

“There’s been less stuff than last year (2019), but there is some more large stuff,” says Cameron, noting the Christmas tree they already found.

Some items volunteers have found in the past include cigarette butts, mattresses and BBQs. Pieces of a Batmobile were also found one year in the park parking lot.

"One year we found evidence of people burning things or lighters mixed with aerosol cans," says Andrew Cameron, Joshua's older brother.

Jennifer Cameron, Joshua’s mother, explains the number of volunteers who come help out changes every year. 

“What we make up in numbers we make up in enthusiasm,” she says.

Jennifer adds her family is one of the first families to move into the Castlebury Park area when there were only four houses built. Since living here, she recalls people who are not from the neighbourhood, dumping items into the park.

“Us being a part of the community means looking after it,” says Jennifer, “That when you see a problem you have to do your best to solve it.”