- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

People are doing what we say we want them to do: visiting our city, participating in our events, walking more, shopping and eating in our downtown.

They are also trying to do what we have said is socially appropriate – putting the garbage they create while doing these activities into the receptacles provided.

What are we doing to encourage – or discourage – these behaviours?
The photos are all from September 2 and 3. The harbour was busy, as was downtown, and lots of locals were out walking. It was the end of the Salmon Spectacular, visitors were dropping in on their way back from the peninsula or the beach, parents were bringing kids to college.

harbourgarbageI watched a man with his hands full of fishing gear looking for somewhere to put his coffee cup, and eventually adding it to an overflowing can. I watched a family with a map walking through garbage on 2nd Avenue before a familiar downtown resident picked it up and tried to find room in a bin overflowing with cups, bottles and take-out packaging and buzzing with wasps.

A staff member at the Community Waterfront Heritage Centre said she was told there are no city maintenance staff working weekends; a city councillor said he was assured by senior city staff that there were. Whether there are or are not, they could not/would not keep up with the garbage on Labour Day.

One of my common routes downtown takes me down the 7th Street East stairs. It seems to be just the place people get when their bottle of water or slurpy is empty, and in the absence of a garbage can – over the rail it goes to join chip bags, cigarette packages and the like. If I go a little farther north, and walk down the 9th Street stairs where there is a garbage pail at the bottom, the landscape is a lot cleaner.

If I hear my readers correctly they want a healthy and attractive environment for themselves and our visitors. They want a busy and prosperous downtown and waterfront. This will require an investment on our part – not just in stickers and flowers and by-law enforcers – but in sufficient staff and resources to meet the predictable needs of a vibrant, active community.

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