Earth Day Garbage

A constituent writes about Earth Day litter in Riverside Park:

As a volunteer who not only picks up garbage on City Clean Up Day (yesterday) but when we go for walks, I was dismayed to see garbage cans full to overflowing all around Riverside Park today, Earth Day morning. What is the point of volunteering when the City Parks Department is part of the problem. With the cans overflowing, the animals have tipped cans and even while I watched, squirrels were rummaging and carrying away pieces of paper, etc.What makes this even more disgusting is that the cans all around the playground were in disgraceful condition. In addition the cans around the parking areas both at the playground and along the roadway (Woodlawn entrance) were in the same disgusting condition.

Although I’m physically challenged, I made the effort to go to the Parks buildings and found someone in the greenhouse. I told him that I would be returning with my camera in an hour. When I returned, he was out with the garbage truck emptying cans along the road by the playground, but the cans around the playground itself remained as you see in the attached photos. Happy Earth Day children!!!

I do not believe that the greenhouse staff is responsible for clearing up garbage and I commend that staff member for trying to rectify the situation. Unfortunately he didn’t clean up the horrible mess at the playground proper. His co-workers and boss however should hang their heads in shame.

No citizen should have to threaten to photograph this kind of shame in order to have the garbage cleaned up. I knew the city was looking for a new dump site but didn’t realize Riverside Park was on the agenda.

By the way, when I searched the city website, I looked at the council calendar. There is nothing noted about the 4th Annual Guelph Clean and Green Community Clean-Up. Do the mayor and councillors participate?                SV


I appreciate you’ve taken the time to express your concerns and I understand your dismay in finding one of the City’s feature parks in a less than desirable state, particularly on such a significant day.

I discussed the situation at a staff meeting this morning and staff assured me the waste receptacles were emptied on Friday afternoon in preparation for our park patrons over the weekend. I also took the opportunity to reminded my Parklands and Greenways staff of our customers’ service expectations to find our park system in a clean, litter-free state and that we need to operate efficiently and effectively to deliver our services to the public. Much discussion ensued and I was reminded that the majority of our summer students have yet to start and our weekend shifts won’t commence until the first weekend in May. Further, staff suggested that some of the excessive waste may have been due to illegal dumping (a significant burden and common occurrence in our parks with our waste disposal restrictions) or due to volunteers having collected park litter on Saturday and disposed of the debris in our receptacles. Regardless of the reason, we will be reassessing our sanitation operating procedures. We take great pride in our parklands and greenways, and as I suggested to staff, we are the ‘curb appeal’ of the City.

Thank you for making the effort to seek assistance from our greenhouse staff. Staff


Volunteer crews collect over 3,600 kilos of litter in this weekend’s Clean and Green Community Clean Up

The City of Guelph, Guelph Development Association (GDA), Guelph and District Homebuilders Association, and the Downtown Board of Management collected more than 350 bags – or 3,610 kilograms – of litter along arterial roads as part of Saturday’s Clean and Green community Clean Up event. The annual clean up coincided with Earth Day and marked the fourth consecutive year City of Guelph and GDA staff has hit the streets voluntarily to pick up litter.

Meanwhile, community volunteers from across the city set out in their own neighbourhoods to collect more litter as part of the clean up. Resident volunteers collected so much litter that City staff is still busy collecting it.

Volunteers from the City of Guelph, the two development associations and the Downtown Board formed 24 crews, numbering 75 people in total. Crews collected the majority of litter from Highways 6, 7 and 24. “The success of events like these is a tribute to the people who live in this community,” says Guelph’s Mayor, Karen Farbridge, who participated alongside City Councillors in Saturday’s event. “City staff and volunteers’ commitment to environmental and community beautification initiatives shows just how much people care about the well-being of the planet and our local neighbourhoods.”

The Clean and Green Community Clean Up was one of several community beautification initiatives that took place this past weekend. As part of other efforts, City staff worked with community volunteers yesterday in a city-wide parks clean up. Litter pick up totals from Sunday’s parks clean up are still being tallied.