A handful of members were at Beacon Hill Park on Saturday, where they spent the day looking for needles and disposing of them safely.
The cleanup, which was focused around the northern entrance of the park, was organized by the Save Beacon Hill Park group and is the first of many more to come.
“We’re calling it Operation Clean Sweep 1.0 and it’s just a trial run at learning how to sweep through the park and find needles, how to safely dispose of them,” said Alex Christie, organizer and member of the Save Beacon Hill Park Group.
Participants used a line-walking method, which they call “de-mining” techniques, to sweep the area for any discarded items that could be dangerous, such as needles.
Christie said the group found all kinds of items from crack pipes to needle caps, tie-off strings, as well as saline capsules. They also managed to fill several bags with trash found in the park.
The northern entrance to Beacon Hill Park has been closed to vehicle traffic since the onset of the pandemic in order to make more space for physical distancing. Christie said that the idea to clean up that section of the park came following discussions with the Victoria Police Department about when it could reopen.
“[It was] a conversation with the Victoria Police Department in terms of what they were doing here,” he said. “They kind of turned it into a new idea, it kind of steered it in another direction in terms of access to actually coming down and helping clear the park of needles because [VicPD] had expressed there was a danger to the public here.”
Christie and other volunteers plan to hold weekly clean-up events every Saturday morning.
“As long as we keep finding needles, we will keep it going,” Christie said. “Victoria has a lot of people that have a lot of leisure time right now, either COVID-19 pay or retired, so we got lots of resources.”
“People are feeling like they are actually able to do something rather than just be sitting on a keyboard and complaining,” he added.
Anyone who is interested in helping out can do so by simply showing up at the park on Saturday morning at 11 a.m., according to Christie.
Shout out to Alex on getting an initial group clean up initiative going in Beacon Hill Park! https://t.co/GAeJDFj0OQ
— Save Beacon Hill Park (@BeaconSave) May 15, 2021