Starting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 21 volunteers are invited to trim back the invasive brush and ivy at the Kitty Islet end of McNeill Bay. (Joe Blake photo)

Starting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 21 volunteers are invited to trim back the invasive brush and ivy at the Kitty Islet end of McNeill Bay. (Joe Blake photo)

Ivy pull, beach clean-up targeted for McNeill Bay

Volunteers aim for big Saturday to restore McNeill Bay

The native willows of Kitty Islet are overgrown with English ivy and the beach is riddled with micro-plastics.

So, starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, volunteers are invited to join members of the Community Association of Oak Bay at the Kitty Islet section of McNeill Bay to attack the ivy and to clean the beach.

Every September the community association joins Ocean Wise Conservation Association and World Wildlife Fund Canada in the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup at McNeill Bay (which is known as Chikawich by Indigenous people).

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Kitty Islet is the small rocky headland just east of McNeil Bay, a popular spot to watch the Salish Sea and its wildlife.

“It’s a favourite birding spot in the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which includes all of Oak Bay’s coastline,” said volunteer Joe Blake.

The islet is famous for the colourful Adirondack chairs, placed there anonymously some years back, and have since been kept up.

Volunteers for the clean-up can meet at Beach Drive and St. Patrick Street, near the set of concrete stairs to the beach that are beside a small grove of native willow trees.

“The grove is almost entirely shrouded in English ivy,” Blake said. “It’s so thick it blocks the light, preventing any other undergrowth.”

If you plan to help with the ivy pull, wear work clothes and sturdy shoes, bring water to drink, and tools. If you have them, secateurs, loppers, hand saws, and pry bars are welcome tools.

“Oak Bay Parks will haul away what we clear,” Blake added. “The cleanup usually takes about two hours.”