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.