Saskatchewan

'North Central needs it': Community cleanup looks to tidy up entire neighbourhood

One resident wants to teach people to help out, even if they're not the ones littering.

One resident wants to teach people to help out, even if they're not the ones littering

Jackie Tanner organized the community cleanup. There were some strange items found among the garbage, include a cat-eared headband. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

When the snow melted, Jackie Tanner quickly noticed garbage littering the streets of the North Central neighbourhood in Regina.

"I live here so it's not surprising but it is disappointing," she said. "Just kind of makes me sad when I drive down the street towards my house and it's like 'Ugh, so much garbage everywhere.'"

Tanner decided to act and organized a community cleanup.

"By the end of the weekend, I hope to have done all of North Central," Tanner said. "Front streets, alleyways, cross streets, everything."

We need to take some pride in our own neighbourhood.- Jackie Tanner

"I want to give North Central a zero start, like start fresh," she said. "North Central needs it."

The Community Cleanup is running from April 19 to 21st. On Friday morning, there were 12 volunteers but Tanner hopes more people will come out during the weekend. She said the online response was appreciated.

"It was amazing. Like all the people saying 'Oh, you're doing a great job,'" Tanner said. "But then you got those naysayers that are like 'Why should we do it?' And that's the mindset we need to change."

By mid-day Friday, the community cleanup had already filled up bags and started piling them into bins. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

"Because it's everybody's responsibility. It's not just the people that are doing it. We need to educate those people," she said. "But we also need to take some pride in our own neighbourhood."

Tanner said they've picked up a number of needles at the beginning and along the roads have been finding coffee cups, Slurpee cups, fast food bags, regular grocery bags, among other items, including a cat-ears headband.

William Durocher and his wife Anita Catpo organized a smaller clean up a couple weeks ago on their block, so when the two heard about the community cleanup they wanted to help.

"I just thought I'd come out and help the rest of the community look good," he said.

William Durocher and his wife Anita Catpo wanted to help out after their small scale block-wide cleanup went so well. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

They've mainly found coffee cups and lids with candy wrappers.

"I haven't found anything dangerous yet," he said with a laugh.

A local group, the Enviro Collective became involved to help promote the cleanup. The timing of Tanner's Facebook post was serendipitous, the Enviro Collective founder said.

"We were talking that same evening at the Enviro Collective meeting not knowing that Jackie was organizing a cleanup saying that we should organize a cleanup," Shanon Zachidniak said.

The Enviro Collective wanted to join forces to help Tanner because it was a grassroots effort, Zachidniak said. And the online response was more than expected.

"That was amazing and great to see—because this is just a grassroots initiative. And for people to just jump on board, you know, we see a problem well let's do something about it."

Coffee cups, coffee cup lids, candy wrappers, needles were among the items picked up by the community cleanup on Friday. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

The business community has stepped up, Tanner said. They received donations or items from a number of places, including Jolly Rogers, Just Bins, Press Box, Northgate Bakery, Canadian Tire, Save on Foods,

Tanner hopes the city will add garbage bins on the street near convenience stores or heavy pedestrian areas and that people will get educated to stop littering.

"Please come out and help," Tanner said with a laugh. "Free barbecue."