Residents dedicated to cleaning up town continue efforts
Tyllore Martelle - Staff Writer
With littering still a big issue around Sioux Lookout, some residents remain dedicated and passionate to make a difference.
For several years Susan Hochstedler and her husband Bill have gone out on Sunday mornings and picked up hundreds of bags of garbage.
Susan explained some of the things she and Bill have done over the last four years. “Every Sunday morning, weather permitting and that we are around, we go out and clean up the section basically from the West Point Cove boat launch all the way down Front Street, along past Timmies, and all the way to Sunset Inn. This summer when they were doing the construction, we didn’t always do that section from Roy Lane to Giant Tiger, but we got the other ends of it.”
Hochstedler said she and her husband feel very passionately about keeping the entire town clean, but cannot do it all by themselves. “If I’m in town walking by myself I will take a garbage bag along and pick up as I go.”
Hochstedler takes her grandsons out some afternoons to teach them the value of keeping the environment clean. “It really bothers us to see garbage lying around town. It’s important to us to help clean up the town, and especially the reason we do that corridor from the Sunset Inn into town is because that’s the main corridor that everyone uses to come into town. That’s their first impression and we really feel that it’s important that we clean that up for that reason.
“I wouldn’t say there’s any kind of lofty goal other than we don’t like how it looks and somebody needs to do something and nobody else is doing anything, so we’re somebody, so might as well do it.
“It has to do with pride in your community and just the image that we portray to those coming in,” Hochstedler concluded.
Another person in the community who feels passionately about the environment is Ashely Edwards. Last spring Edwards spearheaded the cleaning of Highway 642 leading to Alcona through the Pitch-In project. Outside of Pitch-In, Edwards also worked with her family to clean up the highway.
“In the past I have taken the initiative to gather a cleaning crew to pitch in and clean up highway 642. In the spring I went with some community members as well as my husband a few times. I carry some garbage bags in my car and when I happen upon garbage I stop and pick it up. So far this year I’m sure I’ve personally disposed of at least 20 bags. Not including the 80 we picked up together as a group. That is 100 bags of garbage!
“I have always just picked up garbage. Not quite to the capacity as I did this year. Usually if I’m walking down the street I’ll pick up garbage, toss it in the nearest bin,” Edwards shared. “Why is it important to keep the environment clean? Same reason it’s important for us to have air to breathe and water to drink. I, for one, believe as a human race we are destroying our planet. We are sucking resources dry, polluting the air, land, and water with no thought, really, of what our future generations’ lives will look like.
“Climate change, in my opinion, is exacerbated dramatically by people. What will it take for people to accept it and truly take steps to individually do our parts to minimize our impacts on the planet? I take small steps by picking up trash.
“I’m also starting to educate myself more on what other ways I can minimize my carbon print. I think leading by example and being the change you want to see is the best method of encouraging others.
“I think my only goals are to continue showing my children that I care about their future and the future of our planet. I want them to see that any effort, no matter how big or small, has an everlasting impact,” Edwards concluded.
Karl Friesen, long time Sioux Lookout resident and environmental enthusiast, shared some of the ways he’s been working to keep the town clean.
In the spring Friesen visited MNR beach and found a large collection of beer bottles and beer boxes. After finding the beach in that condition he was able to pick up two bags of garbage. Also on the beach, Friesen found a site where people had been burning wooden pallets and the nails had been left in the sand where beach-goers were susceptible to stepping on them.
“It’s just not acceptable,” Friesen stated. “It has to be kept high profile so people care. I’ve watched people unwrap a candy and without a second of thought, they’ve thrown it on the ground. It’s not acceptable. It needs to be taught in schools that littering is not okay. We have to keep talking it up to teach people it’s not okay,” Friesen commented.
In addition to cleaning up MNR beach, Friesen makes regular trips beside the ditch along the highway between Moosehorn Road and Frog Rapids.
“I go out and park my truck. I have six bags on one side of my belt and six on the other. I use my pick-up stick and walk down one side of the road and then turn around and do the other side on the way back,” Friesen noted.
“People need to be held accountable, no matter who they are. Put it (garbage) in a garbage can. There should be fines for littering.”
In addition, Friesen expressed that if everyone did a small part in helping to clean up, the entire town would be much cleaner. Whether it be through going out and picking up garbage just around the neighbourhood or making sure to always throw garbage in a garbage can, there are simple ways to keep Sioux Lookout clean.
“There’s no time limit. Any time you have time. We have to keep up the community spirit so people are proud of keeping the town clean,” he concluded.