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‘World’s largest garden party’ takes only 12 hours to clean up

Clean grounds at Quidi Vidi Lakeon Thursday, the day after thousands thronged the site for the Royal St. John’s Regatta. Dumpsters line the shore.
Clean grounds at Quidi Vidi Lakeon Thursday, the day after thousands thronged the site for the Royal St. John’s Regatta. Dumpsters line the shore.

If you took a trip down to the 199th Royal St. John’s Regatta on Wednesday, you were surely blown away by the vast crowd that consumed the waterfront — but you probably didn’t notice much garbage.

According to Coun. Danny Breen, chair of public works in St. John’s, cleanup efforts at the Regatta actually begin at 6 a.m. on race day to ensure the grounds stay as clean as possible throughout the event.

“We have three two-person crews that are there all day until 10 o’clock,” he said, “and they’re emptying garbage cans around the lake, taking care of the washrooms, making sure portable washrooms are serviced with their contractor, stuff like that.”

Breen said the day crew is also responsible for handling any issues that may come up during the day — including a wasp nest that had to be dealt with on Wednesday.

Before the end of their shifts, they also set up the overnight cleaning supplies for the next crew — moving in portable light towers and taking away garbage bags from concession stands.

At midnight, the real fun begins.

Approximately 40 staff work until dawn with an arsenal of equipment: two loaders, two dump trucks, two street sweepers, three garbage trucks, five stake-body pickups, two half-ton pickups and two garden contractors that have sweeper attachments for grooming the walkways.

“They have the process down in place and it’s very good, but it’s also a lot of co-ordination between our various departments,” Breen said.

Parks, roads, waste and recycling were all involved with the cleanup effort, and Breen said they did an excellent job.

Twelve hours, 12 full loads via dump truck and garbage truck, and 12 full dumpsters later, it’s almost as if you went back in time.

“It’s a really well co-ordinated effort because the staff that are there all day keep it the best they can,” Breen said. “It’s hard to keep up with the volume, but keeping it clean and having staff come in overnight? They just did a great job cleaning it up.”

Breen also raised concerns about the lack of a recycling system at the Regatta. He said there are no recycling bins, but always lots of bottles and cans around that crewmembers have to sort through on their own — and that should change before next year.

“The city needs to get together with the Regatta committee over the next year and figure something out,” he said.

“It’s not as simple as is it seems. Lots of planning would be involved, but we need to get some recycling bins and some sort of system in place in time for next year’s Regatta.”

 

victoria.plowman@thetelegram.com

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