The Park in the City Committee hosts their annual Spring Clean Sweep on Saturday, May 8, with special COVID-19 precautions and gathering restrictions once again in effect. Local volunteers are invited to collect litter and clear debris from their neighbourhood public parks, trails, walkways, and boulevards in a self-directed format similar to the Clean Sweep held last October.
The decision to run the annual event during the current lockdown was made in light of the rising local trend in plogging (picking up litter while jogging) and other impromptu cleanup efforts from the community. Many of these efforts were highlighted by participants in the City's recent Green Movement campaign. Although the campaign featured only one challenge that specifically asked participants to collect litter from their neighbourhoods, and it was suspended after Provincial restrictions increased halfway through the campaign, participants continued to highlight their local clean up efforts, civic pride, and environmental stewardship.
"The safety of our community is our top priority," says Kathy Moldenhauer, Director of Recreation and Culture. "Knowing the community efforts will continue whether we host the event or not, we're taking the opportunity to promote safe practices and coordinate trash collection with the Municipal Works Department by once again hosting the Clean Sweep. As with the fall event, we expect everyone who takes part will find it easy to follow the simple precautions, format and Provincial gathering restrictions."
Over the past few weeks good weather has enticed more folks outdoors and revealed more of what was once hidden by snow. The Municipal Works Department has also received the usual annual influx of illegal dumping reports and requests to increase park and trail maintenance. The return of additional trash cans and more frequently scheduled maintenance visits will increase in May as seasonal labour crews are hired for the spring/summer maintenance program. The City's winter maintenance program runs until the end of April each year, in keeping with legislated maintenance standards and in anticipation of early spring snow events.
The City encourages everyone to help keep public spaces clean year round by minimizing trash brought into these areas, securing loose items set out on their waste collection days, and by taking a few extra steps to the next trash bin when the nearest bin is full. Full bins can be reported by email or phone to the Municipal Service Centre (905) 356-1355, any time.
Sharps (broken glass, needles, etc.) and other potentially hazardous finds should be reported, along with their location, to the City's Municipal Service Centre for safe collection and disposal. Illegal dumping can be reported through the Niagara Region's website and left for trained staff to collect as these items, and their locations, may also pose health and safety hazards.
IMPORTANT CLEAN SWEEP INFORMATION
- Registration and participation waivers are required (due Friday, May 7).
- The event is limited to fair weather and daylight hours on Saturday, May 8.
- Students can find instructions for claiming community service hours on the City's website.
- Participants under 14 must be accompanied by an adult member of their household and submit a waiver signed by their parent/guardian.
- Volunteers may choose their own location, but should stay within their own neighbourhood.
- Groups are limited to members of the same household only.
- Be respectful: do not trespass on private property; do not disturb others, wildlife, nests, dens, etc.
- Put safety first: do not enter catch basins, sewers, ponds, streams, rivers, ditches or other potentially hazardous areas; do not attempt to collect large, heavy, sharp or otherwise potentially dangerous items. Report these to the City for staff to address safely. Photos may be helpful, but not necessary.
- Follow Public Health guidelines for physical distancing, hand washing, and monitoring yourself for symptoms of COVID-19 before and after the event. If you're not well, stay home (and get tested).
- Dress for the weather and wear bright coloured clothing, closed-toe shoes, and non-porous gloves.
- Bags and gloves will not be provided this year.
- Leave tied bags at the entrance/roadside for collection by City staff after the event. Do not block entrances, driveways, sidewalks, etc.
- Email the City with the location of filled bags and report the location of any hazards you observe.
Everyone is invited to follow the event online using hashtag cleansweep on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Those interested in volunteering can learn more and register for the event until Friday, May 7 on the City's website.
The Park in the City Committee
A volunteer committee, appointed by City Council. The committee’s mandate is to encourage environmental responsibility, city wide beautification, promote recreation and active transportation usage and civic pride through community action. The Committee also advises City Council on issues regarding its mandate.
For more information, contact:
Jeff Guarasci, Community Development Coordinator
City of Niagara Falls, Recreation & Culture Department
905-356-7521 ext. 3341