River Channel cleanup this weekend

The Great Channel Clean of 2016 happens this weekend in Penticton.

Julie Lapointe fills the garbage bag held by Rene Turmel in this file photo of the cleanup of the Okanagan River Channel. The cleanup is back on and will take place Sunday.

Julie Lapointe fills the garbage bag held by Rene Turmel in this file photo of the cleanup of the Okanagan River Channel. The cleanup is back on and will take place Sunday.

The summer weather is here in full force and that means channel floating in Penticton, and local businesses are calling all volunteers to help with a clean up before thousands float down the iconic waterway.

Pasta Factory owner Duane Jordan and manager Debra Williams have revived the event which has not been held in recent years after former owner of Salty’s Beach House, Rob Wiley, died in 2009.

“My buddy Rob had this great idea and he used to work with companies to clean up beaches, clean up the channel and it was an idea we wanted to revive because Rob had this big idea,” Jordan said.

The clean up effort, dubbed “The Great Channel Clean of 2016” takes place June 12.

The Pasta Factory has had a special chef’s menu on with a dollar from every one of those meals purchased going toward the clean up effort.

Some of the funds are going towards Oceantec Scuba who will be helping scour the channel.

The full generosity of the community is going to be on display with coffee provided by Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire supplying work gloves and garbage bags, Appleton Waste Management Services is bringing a garbage truck to collect the refuse, Hoodoo Adventures is supplying kayakers to assist the divers, Pier Water Sports is providing a Sea-Doo to assist in operations on the water and Underwriters Insurance as well as Boston Pizza are cooperating to provide pizza for an post clean up snack.

Some of the funds raised are going to the Outma Sqilx’W Cultural School who will be bringing volunteers as well as Penticton Secondary School students.

“I have a great network of friends and businesses here in town and anytime that something is going on for the betterment of the community, a community spirit program, they’re always 100 per cent in,” Jordan said. “The channel is a great attraction for Penticton. Nobody else in B.C. has an attraction like we do that’s natural and such a tourist draw.”

Originally slated to happen in May, the clean up had to be postponed due to an early spring run-off that caused faster than normal currents in the channel.

The clean up begins at 10 a.m. in the parking lot at the south end of the channel by Skaha Lake, and after meeting up volunteers will go to the Green Mountain Road bridge and walk south down the channel cleaning up along the way.

Supplies are provided, Jordan said, and all volunteers have to do is show up. The first 50 people who show up will receive a T-Shirt as well.

“Everybody just chipped in a little bit, nobody was looking at championing the event, it was a group effort with a little bit of community spirit to clean up a wonderful attraction for Penticton,” Jordan said.