On Tuesday, July 28, the M.D. of Lesser Slave River cleaned up the beach at Canyon Creek. The M.D. crew hauled away 35.72 tonnes (78,749 pounds), to the landfill.
The majority of the driftwood was very small, waterlogged, and rotten. It will be used as landfill cover. There was very little plastic and other litter on the beach.
“People were very very happy,” says Barry Kolenosky, Director of Rural Services. “My biggest concern was all the little wanderers.”
There were various children using the parts of the beach which weren’t being cleaned at the moment and standing on the grass watching the equipment.
Kolenosky says one pointed at the digger and said, “that’s what I want to do.”
On Sunday, July 26, Monika Butler and about a dozen volunteers were ready to clean up the Canyon Creek beach, when they learned that the M.D. planned to do it the following Tuesday.
Butler says she checked with a few people at the M.D., but hadn’t heard of the clean up.
This seems to have been a misunderstanding.
The process to clean up the beach started a month earlier says Kolenosky. The first step in any beach clean-up is applying for a Temporary Field Authorization (TFA) to Alberta Environment and Parks.
One of these is required for any beach clean-up regardless what type of land it is on. Even residential land owners are required to fill one out, as all shoreline is public land.
TFAs are also required for temporary docks, although an exemption for standard practices is in the works.
The purpose of TFA is to minimize the environmental impact on the area, says Kolenosky. Wetlands around the lake are very important to the ecology of the region. It is important to leave at least some of these areas undisturbed.
The application includes an inspection before the clean up.
For Canyon Creek, the TFA requirements were to remove all driftwood from the site, leave live trees, and stay out of the water.
The water is under the Federal Fisheries Act, Kolenosky says. In the future, the M.D. plans to apply to remove some old piers and posts. This requires a federal permit, which can take up to three years.
Kolenosky hopes to apply for this permit soon, and be able to remove the posts and piers next spring.