Event organizers say beaches will be cleaned up



heavenly lights Crowds gathered in Kitsilano last night to watch Spain open the annual HSBC Celebration of Light. The Spanish team, Pirotecnia Ricardo Caballer, set their show to cinematic music with the theme, Fireworks and the Seventh Earth. Prior to the show, organizers had asked spectators to pack away their trash because of the city’s ongoing garbage strike. The festival continues Saturday with team Canada at 10 p.m.

“If (garbage) looks too dangerous, we’re going to advocate … the festival be cancelled.”

Members of the West End Residents Association will be walking the beaches this morning, evaluating if there is too much trash for the Celebration Of Lights to continue while CUPE workers are still on strike.

Last night, an estimated 300,000 people watched Spain kick off the annual fireworks competition.

The City of Vancouver, TransLink and West End residents asked spectators to “pack out” whatever garbage they “pack in.”

“If (garbage on the beach) looks too dangerous, we’re going to advocate to the mayor that the festival be cancelled,” said the residents association president, Brent Granby yesterday.

“If there’s going to be broken bottles all over the place and there’s going to be dangerous debris and medical waste on the beach afterwards, it’s just going to get worse after the first night,” he added.

Usually, there are 40 tonnes of garbage left behind after the fireworks, according to Susan Mundick, park board general manager.

Alicia Mulata, general manager of the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society, said the beaches will be cleaned up, “it will just take a little time.”

“I think that people in the West End and everybody have to understand the circumstances that the fireworks are under, and we just need a little patience,” she added.