GALIANO ISLAND RECYCLING RESOURCES SOCIETY
Galiano Island Recycling Resources Society (GIRR) strives to provide our community and its visitors with a recycling program that goes above and beyond expectations. Currently, through funding from the CRD, GIRR offers recycling services equivalent to the Victoria curbside blue box program. With the support of our Galiano memberships and donations, GIRR also offers an impressive expanded recycling depot that rivals any in BC. Our ReDirectory remains a constant source of treasures, unique finds and household necessities all available by donation.
Before GIRR there was a Recycling Station at the “old dump”, which was run by the Galiano Club. Jim Scoones and John Sibbald were the lead hands and were supported by a group of very committed volunteers. In 1991, forestry company Macmillan Bloedel sold the land and left the community without a dump or recycling station. The Galiano Club had its hands full with the fallout from the dump site and so a dedicated group of community members came together to create a Society with a mandate of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: GIRR was born (incorporated) in 1992. When GIRR was 10 years old, the Society bought the present land and moved its full operation to its new home and celebrated with a Grand Opening in July 2002.
The idea of a ReDirectory was initiated to fulfill the “reuse” part of the GIRR mission. A successful Gaming Grant was written in 2004, and on Earth Day 2005 our ReDirectory held its official Open House. The ReDirectory’s mandate is to facilitate the re-use of our community’s household items, magazines and books. It has become a social hub and a source of essentials for anyone on a budget setting up a household; a must visit for tourists and a treasure trove for everyone on Galiano.
GIRR is now 26 years old and last year alone diverted 98,000 tonnes of “garbage” from the landfill and “redirected” thousands of items to new homes. Can you imagine what Galiano would look like today without GIRR? Local islander, Nadia Krebs wrote a fantastic short history of GIRR and, along with the photos from the early days, you can get an idea of the dedication, commitment and hard work that directed GIRR to its present operations.
“GIRR was a mobile recycling operation until 1995, when Deb McKechnie (a board member at the time) suggested that we approach Bob Bambrick about a stationary site. He agreed, for a modest monthly fee, and became the very best landlord there ever was or ever will be! He set up Quonset huts, built storage units, widened the road, installed a gate and offered his help and vast knowledge at every turn.
With the help of very regular and dedicated volunteers, we were able to start collecting a greater variety of materials and MUCH greater volume. All of the glass was crushed by hand, with sledge hammers in 45 gallon drums and then used “on island”, in sheet trenches, as road base and, in one case, to fill a defunct, dug well. Materials were transported off island by more volunteers….ones with trucks. An old Honda generator powered a cardboard baler and a can crusher. The business activities of the Board took place in a 10 foot trailer also located on the site.
Essential to the well being of the volunteers, was a group called The GAGIRR… The Gentlemens’ Auxiliary to GIRR. They (Jim Macdonald, Don Anderson and Andy Turner) provided delicious home made food and “Beverage”.
We were at Bob Bambrick’s until the summer of 2001 when GIRR, thanks to John Craveiro (CRD) and all the hardworking board members and volunteers over the many years, managed to put a very healthy down payment on our permanent site.
The stories are ENDLESS… only outdone in number by the moments of laughter and the huge sense of comradery and achievement.”
ABOUT GALIANO ISLAND
Galiano Island. Swiikw. Hul’q’umín’um’.
Galiano Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Located on the west side of the Strait of Georgia, it is 27.5 km long, 6 km at its widest point, and 1.6 km across at its narrowest point and is separated from Saltspring Island by Trincomali Channel. On the western side of the island there are a series of sandstone caves. The island is northwest of Mayne Island, northeast of Saltspring Island and southeast of Valdes Island. It is part of the Capital Regional District Electoral Area G, and has a population of 1258 inhabitants.
Named after the Spanish explorer Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, who explored the area in 1792, Galiano was long inhabited by aboriginal people from the Penelakut First Nation and used by other Coast Salish nations. Midden pits at Montague Harbour suggest 3000 years of habitation. Today there is only one Indian Reserve on the island, Galiano Indian Reserve No. 9, located at the northern tip of the island and under Penelakut administration. Industries of the past were logging, fishing and charcoal-burning, although today tourism and the arts are the most common methods of employment.