Aaron Nasipayko is a Vernon paddleboarder who has donated his time to clean the shores of both Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes. (Vernon Morning Star files)

Monashee pushes for City of Vernon to commit to clean shorelines

Health collective to ask council to become designated community in Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

The Monashee Health Collective is asking the City of Vernon on Monday to become a designated clean shoreline community.

Steve Piper of the Monashee Health Collective highlighted the work of one resident, Aaron Nasipayko, who has donated time and efforts cleaning the shorelines of both the Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes.

“To date, he has single-handedly picked up garbage along the entire shoreline of Kalamalka Lake,” Piper said in his report to council dated May 21, 2019. “He also created the Okanagan 1% Challenge.”

The challenge, which encourages businesses and individuals to take part in shoreline cleanups, took place on May 28.

“In my opinion, as a business owner of a pending BCorp company and as a resident of Vernon, the Okanagan 1% Challenge is a great imitative that will coincide with the City of Vernon becoming a recognized clean shoreline community.”

“Don’t let (Nasipayko’s) hard work go unnoticed,” Piper told council during the regular meeting on Oct. 28. “We as a municipality have a good opportunity as he has cleaned most of the lake himself.”

But next year, Piper told councillors, the City of Vernon should take a community approach for the next cleanup.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said as a follower of Nasipayko on social media, she is impressed by his work and initiative.

“It’s really commendable what he’s done,” she said Monday. “It shows what one person can do.”

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a volunteer-powered conservation cleanup done in partnership with Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada. It started in 1994 and has seen over 800,000 volunteers clean more than 33,740 kilometres of Canada’s shorelines and removing more than 1.2-million kilograms of litter.

By becoming a designated clean shoreline community, the City of Vernon will receive a certificate, have its corporate logo shared on the communities section of the website and be promoted across social media platforms and in e-newsletters and blogs, the report reads.

If councillors decide this is a route they wish to take, Vernon would join Hamilton, Vancouver, Calgary and Lethbridge in the recognized clean shoreline communities.

“With the help of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and individuals like Aaron Nasipayko, we can and will create environmental sustainability for the City of Vernon,” Piper said.

Tanya Otero, the program manager of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, said there is no financial burden on municipalities when becoming a designated community.

“We wouldn’t want to create that kind of barrier,” she said.

“There are lots of great reasons to become involved,” Otero said. “It’s a great way to encourage citizen participation. We are all connected to shorelines in some way.”

READ MORE: Vernon paddleboarder expands lake cleanup goal

READ MORE: Vernon paddleboarder cleaning up Kalamalka Lake


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