Collaborative efforts restore lands around Millard Park

May 19, 2023

The large-scale restoration on May 11 netted more than 35,000 pounds of accumulated debris.
The large-scale restoration on May 11 netted more than 35,000 pounds of accumulated debris

Landowners, community volunteers, private businesses, the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness, Community Cares Peer Outreach and Youth and Ecological Restoration recently joined forces with the City of Courtenay on a collaborative effort to clean up a forested area spanning both public and private property near Millard Nature Park in Courtenay.

Bob Wells

Mayor, City of Courtenay

The large-scale restoration on May 11 netted more than 35,000 pounds of accumulated debris, collected by nearly two dozen people over the course of one day.

The clean-up netted six large construction bins full of debris, 27 tires, and one bin of scrap metal to be recycled.

With the debris crossing public and private lands, the clean-up included a combination of neighbourhood landowners, environmental stewards, community outreach teams, individuals with lived experience with homelessness, and City of Courtenay bylaw services.

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells said the effort was outstanding.

It was inspiring to see how well this team came together to beautify and restore this area that had quite frankly grown into an eyesore and an environmental hazard.

It was a fantastic day, it felt like a tangible, positive community spirit emanating from this hard-working group, most of whom had never met before. Big thanks go out to everyone involved in the planning and execution of this major clean-up effort, in particular Muchalat Construction for donating heavy equipment, bins, and labour.

Peter de Graaf, the City of Courtenay’s manager of bylaw services, said the event was a collaboration from start to finish.

“I would call this a truly community-based event. “It was a big challenge, and almost felt overwhelming, but there was a ton of energy and camaraderie in this amazing group of people that came together. And once we were done, it was so rewarding to build great relationships and to see the result of all our hard work. It was a great day.”

Garbage in forested areas can have both local and far-reaching environmental impacts. Toxins and garbage contaminate the natural environment and impact the health of native species and wildlife. Seasonal rains wash debris into nearby streams, where it can then travel far beyond the immediate area, potentially ending up in the environmentally-sensitive K’ómoks Estuary and beyond.

The clean-up around Millard Park had to wait until ground conditions had sufficiently dried after the rainy season, allowing people and heavy equipment to access the area.

Maintenance of private lands is the responsibility of landowners. The City of Courtenay maintains parks and other public lands.

To report concerns with encampments on public property, contact Bylaw Services at 250-334-4441 (ext. 5) or email

For encampments on private property, contact the Comox Valley RCMP, 250-338-1321.