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Nancy Kohajda hoists a tire brought in by Dave Hould of Blenheim.

Kayakers pull 750 lbs. of trash from Sydenham

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cool temperatures and brisk winds didn’t stop paddlers from cleaning up the Sydenham River Saturday.

In fact, a small but ambitious group managed to retrieve 750 pounds of junk that had been dumped in the river at Wallaceburg.

Tires, scrap metal, plastic, green slag glass from the town’s old glass factory and a Walmart grocery cart were some of the items collected.

The cart ended up coming in handy as it was used to ferry items to the scale and then on to trash bins.

Randa Speller, one of the ground crew who stayed on land to help collect and weigh the garbage, called the event a “competitive treasure hunt.”

All told there were 15 kayakers who did their part to cleanse the waterway as part of the Spring Sydenham Paddle and Clean.

Not everything found is retrievable with a kayak. Speller said a waterlogged couch and chair were discovered but the size, plus the accompanying slime, made it too big of a job for the paddlers.

“I guess it smelled really bad,” Speller said.

It’s the second clean-up paddle of the Sydenham organized by Chatham resident Sally Joyce. The first one was held last fall.

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