Garbage & Pollution
The surface of a lake is always changing, always in motion. At times it can seem like an animated visual playground with constantly moving reflections. At other times, the lake is like a mirror, glassy-smooth, and from just the right angle, it reveals so much of the depths below, it can take your breath away. How far you can see into the water depends on the wind and how rough the surface is but also on the presence of contaminants and algae which reduce water-clarity and how far you can see through it.
Most of the time, we humans must be content with the reflected light that reaches us after bouncing off the water. On the whole, a lakes lower areas remain an obscured secret to us and we simply cannot see what’s going on down there unless we snorkle down and explore.
Some who have dived down into Hotel Lake in the past have reported back that there is considerable garbage on the bottom especially around the eastern rope swing.
In early 2021 a small GoPro camera was attached to a 20ft pole and lowered into the lake near the rope swing. There was no surface monitor so the camera was simply lowered as far as it could be and then turned through 360 degrees; the footage was reviewed later. Because the lake bed drops sharply beside the swing rope, it was not possible to film beyond about 15 feet from shore; further out, the pole was not long enough to reach bottom. Even without being able to point the camera it was pretty clear that there was a considerable number of beer bottles and cans scattered about. Perhaps, one day we can get a trained diver down there to do a proper survey of the garbage that has been thrown in the lake over the past decades.
Just look at what this great group of divers has accomplished in cleaning up our lakes and oceans.
Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans was formed almost by chance in November 2013
When divers Jonathan Martin and Henry Wang went for a dive at Buntzen Lake in Port Moody, B.C., they discovered a tremendous amount of garbage resting at the bottom of the lake.
The amount of garbage at the bottom of the lake was so overwhelming for the duo, that they returned with twice as many divers. The second clean effort while satisfying, still only made a dent in the garbage pile at the bottom of the lake. Through social media, Henry and Jonathan’s mission caught the attention of their dive friends who eagerly pitched in to see if they could remove all of the garbage. Many dive trips later, the team of dive volunteers not only removed a significant amount of garbage from Buntzen Lake - over 1,700lbs of garbage; they also became motivated them to start cleaning some other local lakes. Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans was formed and the group was on a mission.
Between Nov 2013 and July 2014, they have removed 7,700 lbs of garbage by executing dives all over the Lower Mainland, in lakes such as Rice Lake, Buntzen Lake, Browning Lake, Cat Lake, Alice Lake, and even as far as Whistler at Lost Lake and Alta Lake.
Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans has attracted the attention of many like-minded individuals as well as local companies with environmental stewardship programs. EEC Industries and Arc’teryx have generously provided sponsorship support.
In the coming years, the volunteer divers of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans, will work hard to continue making a positive impact on both our freshwater resources as well as our local oceans by continuing to perform cleanup dives on regular basis. Visit: https://cleanerlakes.com
The photo above is a close-up of just a few of the beverage cans that were removed from the lake bottom below Hotel Lake’s eastern swing rope in 2022. These cans, and there were many more, are not sorted, but simply laid on the ground, and, If you look carefully, you will find that some of the cans are mutilated thus exposing sharp edges.
The bottom of Hotel Lake is littered with such refuse. Why?
Perhaps its because we see the lake as a reflection of the atmosphere and, unlike the eagle, who can see past the water surface and into the depths below, we humans can't. And so we toss the bottle or can or worse into the lake, which makes a pleasant splash as our garbage drops out of sight and mind.
Its time to change this paradigm and face the truth; the garbage we throw into the lake stays there and although we can't see it, it remains where we threw it contributing to a growing pile of human disrespect for this little lake we hope to protect.
So...What else is down there? We now know some of the answers to this question because in early 2022
Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans found and removed considerable garbage from Hotel Lake such as: Plastic furniture, automobile tires, glass bottles, beverage cans, hats, clothing, sunglasses, fishing tackle, golf balls, jewelry, watches, cellphones, anchors, swim goggles and fins.
The divers brought up a lot of garbage and also a lot of information about the lake bottom and we will gather all that data and present it on this website soon and hopefully achieve a more fulsome understanding about what is happening down there. Some of this garbage might have been accidentally dropped into the lake, but some of it, such as vehicle tires, is just unwanted trash that has been discarded in the lake. We will also explain why, the garbage that was removed recently, is but a tiny fraction of what is still down there.
Trash is also discarded on the shores, forest and roads in the catchment areas around the lake.
May 5, 2021. Another load of garbage left scattered on Beaumont Road.
Note the "Private Property" sign has been torn down and joins the other garbage. Scores of such signs have been put up, only to be torn down.
There is bigger stuff too, both in the lake and around the shore. In the past a number of boats that have been found at the bottom of the lake and some have been recovered. One abandoned boat, sunken and out of sight and mind, is still there as shown below. Retrieving these from Hotel Lake takes considerable effort; disposing of them even more work.
Federal oversight of such scuttling and abandonment has recently changed. In 2019 Transportation Minister, Mark Garneau, sponsored Bill C-64, the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act which applies to Canadian and foreign vessels (including small boats and commercial vessels) located in Canadian waters.
ILLEGAL PRACTICES UNDER THE ACT, you may not:
Abandon your unwanted vessel.
Cause your vessel to become a wreck because you fail to maintain it.
Sink, strand or ground your vessel on purpose.
Without being authorized, leave your vessel in poor condition in the same area (within a radius of three nautical miles) for more than 60 days.
Leave your vessel adrift for more than 48 hours without taking measures to secure it.
How can anyone think, this is OK!
This car wreck sits where someone put it, just a few meters away from Hotel Creek.