Three trucks of garbage, about 100 used needles, collected through Rutland cleanup | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Three trucks of garbage, about 100 used needles, collected through Rutland cleanup

About 40 people spent Saturday morning cleaning up the Kelowna community of Rutland. Organizer Gemma Wallis said three trucks full of garbage was collected in two-hours.
September 07, 2019 - 6:00 PM

KELOWNA - Negativity often breeds more negativity. But, when Gemma Wallis noticed an uptick in gloomy social media comments about Rutland, she took it upon herself to help clean up the Kelowna community.

A Rutland resident of 12 years, Wallis used the pessimism as fuel to try to make a difference through a Rutland cleanup event Saturday, Sept. 7.

“I honestly just started it by myself because of reading constant negativity about Rutland on social media,” Wallis said. “I also see a lot of garbage on the streets and empty lots every time I go for a walk, so I thought, ‘I want to fix this.’”

With the help of Tracy Gray and her army of volunteers, Wallis took to Facebook to organize the event and, within a week, was shocked by the response.

“We had about 40 people show up and managed to fill three big trucks full of garbage in just two hours,” Wallis said. “I am beyond pleased with the cleanup event and a big thank you to everyone who volunteered their time.”

Wallis said that drug use has become an issue in Rutland and estimated that the volunteers disposed of "approximately 100 needles" during the two-hour cleanup.

Spurred on by the impressive turnout, Wallis said she intends to keep the Rutland cleanup push going.

“I now see what I can do if I believe in something. Next time I will team up with the Uptown Rutland (Business) Association to make it even bigger,” Wallis said.

Justin Kandola and DK Modern Furniture lent the vehicle that took the garbage to the landfill, and bags, gloves and garbage grabbers were donated by the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

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