Community cleanup looks to put a shine on St. Boniface

Volunteers pick up garbage during a community cleanup, May 1 (Source: Dan Timmerman)

A community cleanup, organized by the St. Boniface Citizens on Patrol Program, took to the streets on Saturday with a goal of improving community livability.

This weekend’s event was the third one for the group, which saw them picking up garbage in Norwood Flats, the Marion Goulet corridor and down St. Mary’s Avenue.

“The cleaner and better kept the community is, there’s more pride in the community,” said Paul Laporte, one of the coordinators for St. Boniface Citizens on Patrol Program. “More people get out and go for walks and be involved in the neighbourhood, which increases safety for everyone.”

This is the first year the group has put on community cleanup events and partnered with the Norwood Grove BIZ and the Provencher BIZ. Saturday’s cleanup included around 20 volunteers.

Their efforts took a whole bunch of trash off of the streets, over 60 contractor sized garbage bags, and managed to do so in a safe COVID-19 friendly way.

Area resident and cleanup volunteer Lea Stogdale said she is no stranger to picking up trash, often spending time walking around the neighbourhood and disposing of litter she may find in what she calls her “backyard.”

“I think it’s important for neighbourhood pride,” said Stogdale. “It’s just like they did in New York. If you clean up the graffiti then there’s less graffiti and less broken windows, and people just take more care of their houses and yards. But I also think it’s good for neighbourhood interaction.”

Entry and exit into the staging area was staggered, which minimized contacts and ensured no one stayed in the area longer than necessary. 

“We’re out for all forms of trash,” said Laporte. “There’s some things we’ll handle and some things we won’t.”

The city is called for bulky items but most others are collected, including sharps. Laporte said all of the teams are trained in sharps disposal and have the appropriate equipment.

Overall, Laporte said he was very pleased with the amount of public engagement the event garnered.

“Initially it was only going to be our 35 volunteers split up over the weekend, but when we posted on Facebook a lot of community members said, ‘Hey we want to get involved,’ and that’s fantastic.”