Behest of the West: Why were our volunteers kept in the dark as bags flew around our backyard?

How we got here is as perplexing a question as whether reindeer really know how to fly.

Just when we were all getting set to nestle ourselves into holiday cheer, a bunch of garbage arrived in our backyard and Grinched our attention away from good tidings’ doorstep.

The holly’s on hold, our halls have been decked with boughs of plastic and instead of laughing through the snow, we’re fretting through endless empty bags.

How we got here is as perplexing a question as whether reindeer really know how to fly.

Our Coast became national news last week when the story broke that thousands of empty, plastic, aquaculture feed-bags landed on our shores.

It happened almost exactly one-year after over 30 styrofoam shipping containers crashed here.

Both those incidents garnered big attention. People on the other side of Sutton Pass pay attention to these things because our environment is their pristine escape from the big city smog they live in.

The Hanjin containers still pop up in the news a year after they arrived. Their styrofoam spread through our shorelines like cinnamon in our eggnog and had sprinkled everywhere by the time Team Trudeau hummed and hawed enough to hand over the funding to clean it up.

Can you imagine where we’d be if volunteers hadn’t immediately jumped into that ocean of debris to rescue our serenity while our federal leaders spent months deciding which bathing suit to wear before wading in?

The Hanjin spill sparked important conversations around who should pay for a cleanup, but those conversation didn’t prevent this recent bag spill from happening.

Accidents will always happen. Debris will always wash up. Knowing who did it is one thing, knowing who will clean it up is another. It’s shocking that knowing who will tell us it’s even happened is now part of the conversation.

The bags were found on Nov. 10. We know that because a Parks Canada memo was leaked to the press. We didn’t need the Hanjin disaster to prove Surfrider can get gumboots on the ground in a hurry. We’re going to need an explanation as to why they weren’t invited to this party.

It’s storm season. There’s no way the National Park Reserve couldn’t have used some help lassoing thousands of empty plastic bags riding the West Coast’s winds.

Why were our volunteers kept on the bench and in the dark when they could have been helping clean up the mess a week prior? And, had that memo not been leaked, when would we have been told what had landed on our shores?

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