Vernon standup paddleboarder Aaron Nasipayko put together this collage of the debris he and volunteers collected during shoreline cleanups of Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes from May 5 to Nov. 10. (Aaron Nasipayko - photo)

Vernon standup paddleboarder Aaron Nasipayko put together this collage of the debris he and volunteers collected during shoreline cleanups of Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes from May 5 to Nov. 10. (Aaron Nasipayko - photo)

Okanagan paddleboarder completes shoreline cleanup

It’s evident there’s a pollution problem in Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes says Aaron Nasipayko

If you don’t think there’s a pollution problem in Okanagan or Kalamalka Lake, listen to Aaron Nasipayko.

The Vernon financial advisor and standup paddleboarder spent May to November cleaning up the shorelines of both lakes. Kal Lake was first, and then Nasipayko started on the daunting challenge of cleaning up the shorelines of Okanagan Lake from Vernon to Penticton, finishing things off Nov. 10.

“Between both lakes, I have paddled more than 412 kilometres and 316 kilometres of shoreline has been combed over,” Nasipayko said. “I know there is more out there but sometimes you can only do so much. I’ve personally logged just over 100 hours on the water alone excluding any preparation or travel.

READ MORE: Vernon paddleboarder expands lake clean-up goal

“I hope people rethink what they’ve been doing and make an effort to clean up when they go. People don’t think we have a pollution problem here, but it is evident.”

Nasipayko paddled with a crate aboard to put in debris like cans, plastic bottles, plastic bags. Bigger items, such as tires, were put on the back of his board. Everything was disposed of in public disposal bins at area parks.

“There were a ton of tires in Okanagan Lake on the west side near Penticton,” he said. “A significant amount. Quite disturbing. It’s obvious somebody is using it as a dumping area. Also, close to the core of Kelowna, there was tons in terms of plastic and garbage.”

Nasipayko got by with a little help from his friends.

More than 150 volunteers contributed time toward the project, and approximately 70 of those volunteers were under the age of 10.

“A genuine thank you to everyone who has stepped up to help,” Nasipayko said. “I specifically want to thank Colleen Dix for her support and the generosity of Telus for the new board. I could not have finished without it nor imagine being on anything else. Kalavida Surf shop, you have been huge in ensuring that I have had the right equipment to be safe and making your rentals available for participants.

“Alexa Monahan and Nature’s Fare, thank you for the premium fuel, sunscreen and encouragement. Tenacity Fitness and friends, thank you for your fundraising efforts. Okanagan Lifestyle for spreading the OKNG love, awareness and the swag. Hitcase, it was a game-changer knowing my phone was safe at all times, it was my lifeline. My gang at Sun Life Financial and Latitude Financial, your support and encouragement is valued. To everyone who stepped up to take the challenge and the support from the Okanagan and Vernon community, I sincerely thank you. I have met so many great people and appreciate you all.”

Proud of his accomplishment, Nasipayko is looking forward to some downtime.

“It’s a relief to close the page on this chapter,” he said. “I’m definitely tired and looking forward to seeing some friends that I haven’t seen in a long time and finally unpacking my gear. I’m grateful to have completed this project with out any injuries. Our shorelines are rugged, slippery and not fun along the highway between Peachland and Penticton. At times I felt like I should have had a helmet on or a partner in crime for safety. I learned to be very cautious and take my time.”

Each outing, Nasipayko estimated he spent eight hours on the water collecting debris.

READ MORE: Monashee pushes for City of Vernon to commit to clean shorelines

The Monashee Health Collective asked City of Vernon councillors to consider becoming a designated clean shoreline community in October after witnessing the work Nasipayko has done.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a volunteer-powered conservation cleanup done in partnership with Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada. It started in 1994 and has seen over 800,000 volunteers clean more than 33,740 kilometres of Canada’s shorelines and removing more than 1.2-million kilograms of litter.

By becoming a designated clean shoreline community, the City of Vernon would receive a certificate, have its corporate logo shared on the communities section of the website and be promoted across social media platforms and in e-newsletters and blogs, the report reads.

If councillors decide this is a route they wish to take, Vernon would join Hamilton, Vancouver, Calgary and Lethbridge in the recognized clean shoreline communities.

“With the help of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and individuals like Aaron Nasipayko, we can and will create environmental sustainability for the City of Vernon,” Monashee’s Steve Piper said.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said as a follower of Nasipayko on social media, she is impressed by his work and initiative.

“It’s really commendable what he’s done,” she said during the Oct. 28 council meeting. “It shows what one person can do.”


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Classroom chairs (Pixabay photo)
Kelowna elementary school flagged for COVID-19 exposure

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School

Police outside a home on Leathead Road on Monday evening. (Jen Zielinski - Black Press Media)
Police presence at home near Ben Lee Park in Rutland

Several RCMP cruisers are on scene; Leathead closed between Franklyn and Hollywood

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Man arrested at home on Byrne Avenue. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Reports of Kelowna house fire with entrapment unfounded, man arrested

The report prompted a large response by emergency crews

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

In a Jan. 18 notice, Interior Health and Salmon Arm West Elementary confirmed a member of the school community tested positive for COVID-19 and, due to a possible transmission, advised students who ride School District 83's Monkey Bus be monitored for symptoms of the virus. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 case reported at Salmon Arm West Elementary

Interior Health advises students who ride Monkey Bus be monitored for symptoms

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Starting Monday, Nov. 9, 2020, the District of Lake Country will require visitors at all indoor public facilities to wear masks, as part of enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Lake Country looks at big-ticket projects

Bottom Wood Lake Road construction projects are the biggest investments

This dog is going to the SPCA if its owner isn't found. (RDNO Dog Control photo)
Several ‘owners’ claim lost North Okanagan dog as theirs

‘Dumped’ dog being kept in foster care until rightful owner can provide evidence of ownership

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

The Penticton Regional Airport saw just under 34,000 total flight movements in 2020. (Black Press file)
Penticton Airport sees 75 per cent drop in use in 2020

The airport saw under 34,000 total aircraft movements

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

Most Read