Litter-collection funding approved

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Councillors disappointed province won’t partner on program

The City of St. John’s will fund a litter collection program this summer that targets messy public areas.

Councillors voted unanimously to proceed with the program, which has an estimated cost of $53,165. The city may also recover some of those costs through summer programming funds granted to its department of community services.

Coun. Danny Breen said the city has been trying to get the provincial government on board for a collaborative program with matching funds. Instead, the city will take matters into its own hands.

“We’ll hire crews to work during the summer, starting hopefully next week, to clean up various public spaces in the city that are identified,” said Breen.

According to minutes from a finance and administration committee meeting held earlier this month, several areas have already been considered for the program. They include Robin Hood Bay Road, Pitts Memorial Drive, Columbus Drive, Maddox Cove Road, Robert E. Howlett Memorial Drive and the Stavanger Drive area.

“Our staff will look at that list and determine what the highest priorities are and then clean up some of the messes that are out there,” said Breen, who chairs the committee.

Breen said city staff have been working for the last three weeks on the litter problem, but the need for extra attention was apparent.

The program has the potential to become an annual one for the city, Breen said. He, along with other councillors, also brought up the possibility of expanding it in the years ahead.

Coun. Sandy Hickman spoke of the need to take action on litter well before the summer starts.

“Believe it or not, the snow is gone in March and early April, and that’s when it all gets exposed. That’s when we need to take action. We’ve had tourists in this city the last five or six weeks and we have a national spotlight on us because of all the icebergs, and we need to do this earlier.”

Some councillors criticized the provincial government for not partnering with the city.

Coun. Bernard Davis said the city needs to do a better job of holding the government accountable for doing its part to keep roads clean, particularly with respect to the Outer Ring Road. Breen referred to the Outer Ring Road as a “perennial mess.”

Coun. Tom Hann said he could not understand the government’s unwillingness to co-operate with the city.

The province is reportedly planning to remove litter from the Outer Ring Road later this month.

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Geographic location: Outer Ring Road, Hood Bay Road, Columbus Cove Road

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  • Sheila White
    July 11, 2014 - 08:33

    I look for opportunities to persuade people to stop littering because it reflects very poorly on them. Bookmark this website for easy reference. http://www.litterpreventionprogram.com/

  • Anna
    June 17, 2014 - 17:16

    This is great news as it shows council is finally listening to the public. This should be a monthly action beginning in May until the snow arrives. It is too bad that the Provincial Government won't take responsiblity for what it a huge problem in this Province. I can't beleive that not one member, Conservative, Liberal or NDP is not concerned about this issue. The money should be grouped in with the Department of Tourism budget as it is a reflection of our Province and maybe if they took it seriously then the citizens of the Province would begin to care about littering.

  • Chantal
    June 17, 2014 - 06:30

    The "net" system that is used for garbage pick up is a big reason for all the litter. Why do some use these nets? Why is bins not provided from the city (for a small cost) like everywhere else in Canada? Also the general public needs to take action, stop littering. Litter really is everywhere in this city and it's an embarrassment.