Edmonton's campaign to reduce the number of cigarette butts dropped on the sidewalk on Jasper Avenue has been so successful that council is being asked to expand the program — if it can find the money.
"The fact of the matter is that cigarette litter is a major problem across the city, and certainly by doing what we did in the pilot area on Jasper Avenue and on Whyte Avenue, we've taken those cigarette butts off the streets," said Don Belanger, project manager for Capital City Cleanup.
"I think it made a positive difference in the smokers' habits as well."
More than 1,100 ashtrays were installed on Jasper Avenue during the six-week pilot project, which reduced street litter by 87 per cent.
But it will cost $27,000 to continue the program into 2010, and currently the city hasn't allocated any money for the project. That has to change, said Coun. Ben Henderson.
"Now that we have the ashtrays up, if we do not fund this program, what on earth happens?" Henderson said during a community services meeting Monday.
"It will all slide back again, won't it? We'll have a bunch of ashtrays that nobody will be emptying. Or do we take the ashtrays down? What happens if this pilot doesn't continue?"
The debate will become part of council's budget deliberations, along with the recommendation to expand the program onto 124th Street, Alberta Avenue and Stony Plain Road, as well as China Town and Little Italy. That would push the cigarette butt cleanup bill to around $230,000.