Paul Strome brought council up to speed on a shoreline cleanup project that serves to eliminate marine debris from the coastline.

PORT HOOD: Local councillors were given the lowdown on a program from the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA) that could serve to beautify the coastline of Inverness County.

“They are looking at a shoreline cleanup [of marine debris] until April 30, 2018,” said Cheticamp resident Paul Strome, a representative of the Blue Dot movement launched by the David Suzuki Foundation.

Strome appeared before council on December 4. He said he would like to see the whole west coast of Cape Breton Island benefit from the program.

“We need to clean it up for a whole bunch of reasons,” he said. “One is environmental, but there’s a tourism perspective as well.

“We have a recycler on side, we have the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries on side, we have three fishing associations on side, and today I’m asking municipal council to join in this effort to clean up our beaches.”

The DFA is contributing a truck that will stop in communities and pick up plastic left along the shoreline. Strome noted that fishing containers are often left along the shoreline, and that’s the sort of thing that could be carted off – once they are cleaned.

“The maximum donation from DFA is $5,000, and that doesn’t pay for volunteer time, fuel, or anything else,” he said. “We are looking for volunteers.”

Council could help in a number of ways, Strome said. One suggestion he offered was for council to erect no dumping and no littering signs near the shoreline. Video cameras were another possibility he mentioned, as well as putting garbage cans on the beach.

Councillor Jim Mustard asked for a ballpark figure of how much the project would cost, and Strome said he suspected at least an additional $5,000 would be needed on top of the DFA’s $5,000.

Councillor Laurie Cranton said the request Strome made dovetails with the municipality’s recent efforts to brand itself as “The Musical Coast” which resulted in signage being erected.

“I see this clean-up fitting well with that,” he said. “You don’t want to be dragging people to places where there’s garbage.”

Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie said the program seems to be hitting a number of notes that sound good to her.

“I think we all agree that it’s a good program and we’ll be discussing it farther,” she added.