byo bag
Levi Hildebrand (second from left) and Leah Tidey (second from right) are donating their BYO Bag contest winnings to a beach cleanup. (Levi Hildebrand/Facebook)

Here’s some good news: the winners of Victoria’s BYO Bag video contest are putting their $500 winnings towards a beach cleanup at the Gorge Waterway this Sunday!

Levi Hildebrand and Leah Tidey were announced as the winners of the People’s Choice category at the end of June.

The pair announced at the award ceremony that they were partnering with Surfrider Vancouver Island, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans and beaches, to host a beach cleanup.

Full details of the beach cleanup were announced in a Facebook video on Thursday.

Come to our Beach Cleanup! #plasticfreejuly

Victoria Friends! Our super awesome beach cleanup is happening THIS SUNDAY!!! Click on this link to RSVP and see all the cool details: winning the BYOBag video contest we have decided to use the $500 winnings to put towards a giant beach cleanup with Surfrider Vancouver Island! That money is going towards some awesome food and cool prizes from a bunch of local/super rad businesses! Hope to see you there!

Posted by Levi Hildebrand on Thursday, July 5, 2018

The cleanup will take place at the Gorge Waterway on Sunday, July 8, from 9 to 11 a.m. The $500 will go towards extra snacks and refreshments, and some prizes to spice things up a bit.

Reusable bags and gloves will be provided, but you’re encouraged to bring your own. You might also want to wear rubber boots or footwear you don’t mind getting wet or dirty.

“Come help show pollution we are bigger and better than it by coming to collect litter, styrofoam, plastics, and other nonsense left by us humans,” Surfrider says.

Contest promoted shift away from plastic bags

Victoria launched the BYO Bag video contest last May to encourage residents to ditch their plastic bags ahead of the bag ban, which took effect on July 1.

Finalists were announced last June, and residents were given a couple of weeks to vote for the people’s choice recipient.

“Leah’s Ditching Plastic Bags” won both the all ages and people’s choice video categories, with over 650 capital region residents voting in the latter.

Gorge Cleanup – Plastic Free July

When: Sunday, July 8, 9 – 11 a.m.

Where: Gorge Waterway; meet at the end of Central Spur Road and the Galloping Goose Trail in Vic West