Citizens’ group does laundry in the park

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A group of Salt Spring Islanders has taken to “airing” their dirty laundry in public in an effort to draw attention to the desperate need for publicly accessible facilities.

Laundreaction Salt Spring is a new grassroots organization that has formed to promote the need for services and to support the ongoing work of the Copper Kettle Community Partnership and the Wagon Wheel Housing Society to find a solution. This past weekend marked their second appearance at the Saturday market, where Centennial Park became home to an alternative solution based on large buckets, water and biodegradable soap.

Flynn Scott was one of the people to take her clothes to the park on Saturday.

“It’s not that we’re not willing to pay for things, there’s just nothing within a reasonable price range,” Scott said. “And of course if you can’t clean your clothes, you often can’t get work. It’s like a dog chasing its tail in a lot of ways.”

Salt Spring has been largely without laundry services since Mrs. Clean Laundromat closed its doors after 25 years in business at the end of February in 2016. Ganges Harbour Properties bought out the final owners because of plans to renovate the Ganges Alley complex that was home to the laundromat, and a conflict with the number of water lines and fixtures available for other units. The business owners had meanwhile struggled with unsustainable water, sewage and equipment costs.

Laundreaction spokesperson Kajin Goh explained the first wash-in event was partly motivated by the fact that a friend had come in from Edmonton and desperately needed to wash his clothes after a week of driving. Research on YouTube provided a lesson on how to build a simple system using five-gallon buckets (some drilled with holes) and a toilet plunger as agitator.

“Last week’s action was basically to demonstrate the model and see if it worked,” Goh said on Saturday.

The Laundreaction crew are happy to show others how to modify their own buckets or will lend them out as a temporary measure.  Wash-ins are scheduled to take place every Saturday at the park starting around noon.

For more on this story, see the Aug. 15, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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