As early as 10 a.m. Saturday, local families lined up under a tent beside the Aldergrove Vineyard Church, ready to give back to the community in the form of litter pick up.
Matt Torgerson and his two children, Chase and Sophira, were some of the first to line up and be given a designated clean-up route, one adjacent to the old Aldergrove mall property.
Garbage pickers, safety vests, and garbage bags were donated by Langley Township, as a part of its Langley-wide April 27 clean-up, to address littering in several neighbourhoods – including Aldergrove.
“This is where the less fortunate go,” Togerson explained aloud about the Bertrand Creek riparian area. “It gets dark here at night. I’ve tried to teach my children to be careful here.”
The father walked ahead of his children, ensuring it was safe for the kids to pick up discarded items and walk them to the trash bag he held open.
Torgerson owns Surrey-based waste diversion company, Clutter Guys, as well as a Lower Mainland organic waste management company, AJM Disposal Services Ltd.
Aldergrove Business Association (ABA) president Jodi Steeves organized the downtown core clean-up event with the help of other association board members.
“I love when parents bring their kids out and teach them early about being responsible for their community,” Steeves said.
Steeves was pleasantly surprised by this year’s turn out – previously, in 2018, eight participants came out to de-trash the downtown. This year, a record high 40 showed up to work, not including infants and pets in tow.
“Families truly came out and did it together,” Steeves emphasized.
Though the ABA encouraged locals to complete a half-hour shift picking up trash in public areas, most stayed for a few hours, returning from numerous trips with bags full.
Aldergrove’s community police liaison Cpl. Kurt Neuman, tended to the quasi-dumping grounds behind the Aldergrove Vineyard Church. There, he removed several bags of rain soaked items, including possible “biohazards.”
“This day is so important. It demonstrates to those driving by that people really care about this community,” Neuman said.
A few drivers passing by on Fraser Highway honked and waved in support of the event. One even stopped by to probe the ABA team about the cause of the large turnout.
Two local ladies – both who cover ground in Aldergrove through daily walks – asked if they could take a garbage picker home to use during their strolls.
One of the women, Shirley Buchbergger, was admittedly irked by the amount of trash she saw during her time out and about, especially cigarette butts.
“Hopefully if people see other people picking garbage up, they won’t want to throw it away,” Buchbergger said.
ABA president, Jodi Steeves, decided it was best to let the women take pickers home with them.
Her team handed out vintage-inspired gumball machines, Tim Hortons’ baked goods and free crazy bread vouchers from Aldergrove’s Panago Pizza to volunteers.
Many parents enjoyed warm coffee upon their lengthy trip around downtown collecting litter.