Breanne Magdalenich with Team UsedVictoria picks up garbage along the harbour as part of the fourth annual Earth Day Showdown Tuesday.

Breanne Magdalenich with Team UsedVictoria picks up garbage along the harbour as part of the fourth annual Earth Day Showdown Tuesday.

62,000 pieces of garbage in 1 hour

Victoria businesses, community groups clean up city in Earth Day Showdown

Brett Soberg knows how to catch people’s attention.

Walking on the beach along Dallas Road, Soberg donned a large grey beard, flowing blue robes and a golden trident.

“It draws a lot of attention, there were a lot of pictures being taken in one hour at Clover Point by people sitting in their cars and driving by and asking what’s going on,” he said. “It evokes conversation as well.”

Soberg, the co-owner and operator of Eagle Wing Tours, said the costume was a way of increasing awareness of keeping the local environment clean.

“We’re a whale watching ecological wildlife tour operator, Eagle Wing Tours, we’re on the water all the time. Neptune or Poseidon seemed appropriate as we pick up garbage along the ocean,” he said.

Soberg was one of more than 50 people who participated in the fourth annual Earth Day Showdown Tuesday.

As part of the competition put on by the Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance, 14 businesses took one hour of their day to pick up garbage from downtown streets.

“I think it’s like-minded businesses, for the most part, it’s locally owned businesses so everybody really cares and I think that speaks volumes about the community,” said Avril Matthews, director of sales and marketing at the Inn at Laurel Point and organizer of this year’s event.

“You really get to brass tacks when you get people to pick up garbage. You really need to like what you do to do that.”

In total, they collected more than 62,000 pieces of garbage in one hour.

Eagle Wing Tours picked up the Golden Garbage Award for picking up 6,800 pieces of garbage, the most of any team.

The event was also to draw attention to Earth Day the following day.

“Being somewhere as beautiful as Victoria, it’s a shame to ever see garbage on the ground. So for us, it’s a pride in our community,” said Lacey Sheardown, with UsedVictoria who had 14 volunteers participate in the challenge.

Soberg hopes his eye-catching costume might inspire people to keep their streets clean too.

“Maybe as a result of this corny getting dressed up as King Neptune it might actually have some positive impact and might inspire some change,” he said.