City set to clean up
First ever City-Wide Cleanup goes this weekend
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 06:00 am
St. Albert should be squeaky clean this weekend as hundreds of people scrub it of trash as part of the region’s first-ever city-wide cleanup.
Scores of city residents are expected to head out into their neighbourhoods this Sept. 22 and 23 as part of St. Albert’s first annual City-Wide Cleanup. A spin-off of the well-known Sturgeon River cleanup, it’s part of council’s ongoing effort to spruce up the city.
The Sturgeon cleanup is pretty popular, says city community recreation co-ordinator Erin Gluck, but residents and city council wanted an event that helped people better connect to their own neighbourhoods.
North Ridge resident Paul Radchenko says his kids have been spreading the word about the cleanup for weeks. He was one of the first people to sign up for the event, and is the neighbourhood captain for his region.
Picking up trash just makes sense if you’re a taxpaying citizen, says Radchenko, who has done similar city-wide cleanups in Medicine Hat.
“Your neighbourhood always has a say in the value of your home,” he says. “If you care for your home, you should care for your neighbourhood, because they’re one and the same.”
Residents wanting to spruce up their parks and streets can get free bags and gloves this weekend from one of 15 neighbourhood captains, Gluck says.
“We’re focusing on public spaces rather than private,” she notes, so residents should stick to parks, trails and boulevards. “Anywhere there’s a green space, you’ll pick up garbage.”
Hazardous items such as syringes should be flagged for collection by captains.
Once they’re done, locals should drop their trash bags by the nearest road for pickup by city crews. Past cleanups suggest that this trash will be mostly inorganic material, Gluck says, so it will go straight to the landfill. (Residents can blue-bag any recyclables they find if they like.) Neighbourhood captains will have free food and drinks for later.
Gluck hopes to see about 25 to 50 people per neighbourhood participate, noting that they’ve seen similar turnouts at the Sturgeon cleanups.
Community cleanups have far-reaching implications, Radchenko says, including safer neighbourhoods, livelier parks and healthier people.
“It builds some community buy-in,” he said.
This event also gives him a chance to teach his kids some values, he continues.
“The parks and trails and open spaces come at a price, and part of that is looking after them.”
Visit www.stalbert.ca/city-wide-clean-up for details on the cleanup.
The city had originally planned to cross-promote this event with the 19th annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup that runs from Sept. 15 to 23, Gluck says, but dropped that idea when the event’s local organizer, the World Wildlife Fund, closed its St. Albert office.
That cleanup is still on, however, says Jill Dwyer, the event’s national co-ordinator, with about 48,000 people signed up to sweep some 1,600 spots this week. At least one of those cleanups is in St. Albert, according to the event’s website.
Last year’s cleanup cleared about 3,144 kilometres of shoreline and collected about 143,737 kilograms of trash, Dwyer says – roughly equivalent to the distance from St. Albert to Huntsville, Ont. and the mass of seven fully loaded Greyhound buses.
For more on this cleanup, visit www.shorelinecleanup.ca.