Cleanup volunteers say popular Saanich lake is littered with garbage

A group of volunteers filled three trash bags with man-made debris from the bottom of Durrance Lake in less than an hour last weekend.

Durrance Lake in Saanich is a popular spot for cooling off in the summer. As it turns out, it’s also a popular place to dispose of one’s garbage.

Last weekend, three divers, two kayakers and a tin boat captain began cleaning up the lake bottom and were dismayed at how much trash they found.

In less than an hour, they filled three trash bags with bottles, cans and other man-made debris, including a sunhat, a cowboy hat, some jewelry and a full bottle of vodka (which they didn’t drink).

Wade Martinson, one of those volunteering his time to help clean up the lake, has a message for those using Durrance Lake this summer.

“Maybe people could stop throwing all those things in the lakes and our oceans because it is very difficult to get to and very difficult to clean up afterwards.”

The lake is heavily used for fishing, swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. One thing it shouldn’t be used for is a garbage dump, say those taking it upon themselves to clean it up.

“A little disappointed with how much is down there,” says Martinson, who teaches tech-education at a local middle school in Saanich.

“We are all out there to have fun, but maybe we could not throw so much away, because I don’t necessarily want to go pick it all up. I’m saddened that our really nice, pristine spots are now becoming little garbage dumps.”

The person who organized the dive was Phil Senkler. It was his second year doing the garbage collection dive. He returned because there was still so much down there, says Martinson.

The group of friends only cleaned up about one-tenth of the lake, but say they plan to return again soon.

“We can’t get it all,” says the school teacher. “So it would be awesome if everybody could help us out and not throw all of their cans and ropes and miscellaneous garbage into the lakes.”