Island Pathways is respectfully honouring the retirement of its most dedicated trail clean-up volunteer, while hoping her good example might inspire others to step up and take over.
Meadowbrook resident Kit Lewis celebrated her 95th birthday this week and has more than earned her retirement from self-imposed community service. As a keen environmentalist and a staunch opponent of litter and littering, she has kept the Atkins Road pathway and the surrounding neighbourhood clean for many years, but has conceded it’s time to hang up her gloves and picker and for someone else to take her route.
“Island Pathways was so grateful when Kit came up with the idea,” board member Jean Gelwicks said about the trail adoption. “The Atkins Road pathway is by far the cleanest section of pathways into and around Ganges. Kit is amazing, and deserves a medal.”
Contrary to what some people seem to think, there is no one employed to clean up litter on Salt Spring and no public agency paying for such efforts. Lewis wishes more than anything that people would stop throwing trash out their windows, something she cannot believe people do in this day and age. She has in fact suggested that ICBC instruct new drivers not to do this as part of their licensing requirement.
She has picked up and recycled countless bottles and cans and tried to find a way to deal with hubcaps. Her volunteer work directly inspired this newspaper’s first community-wide litter clean-up campaign in 2018.
The Driftwood happened to be on site with Lewis when she discovered the most infamous piece of trash in her journey: an empty hog feed bag. Other items picked up over the years belonged in the lost category, and if found near Meadowbrook Lewis would hang them on the fence in case their owner returned for them. If not, they also went into garbage or recycling.
“The tires were fun,” Lewis said with wry humour. “Mostly I’m just horrified by plastic. That’s the worst. It’s going to drown us all.”
Island Pathways is looking for someone willing to take Lewis’ place on the Atkins Road pathway — and Lewis has a fairly new garbage picker that she’s willing to pass on to the next person.
“Actually, we would love it if islanders adopted any section of the Ganges Village Pathway Network so we can keep them all free of trash,” Gelwicks said.
For more information, contact Island Pathways at info@ islandpathways.ca.