Councillors pitching in

Jeff Da Silva cleans up garbage in front of City Hall Thursday. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Councillor Charlene Miller has been doing her part to keep the community clean for the last nine years. This year, she has a little help from some of her colleagues.

The annual Prince Albert pitch-in week gets underway Monday, and runs until May 12. Each year Miller organizes a week-long community cleanup of her ward. Last year, Ward 2 Coun. Terra Lennox-Zepp joined the cause, and this year, Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha is joining in as well.

“It’s a great opportunity for us as councillors to get involved and get into our neighbourhoods and assist with cleaning up the litter from the snow melt,” Lennox-Zepp said.

“I’d like to give accolades to Coun. Miller. She’s been doing this for many years in Ward 1, and Ward 2 butts up to Ward 1 quite a bit in the West Flat. I think it’s very valuable to get out in the community and try to beautify our neighbourhoods by getting rid of that litter from the snow melt.”

To assist with the cleanup, dumpsters will be placed at various locations, including Leon’s Furniture, Crop Production Services and Parkland Hall. This year, for the first time, rimless tires will be collected at Crop Production Services.

For Botha, the cleanup provides an opportunity for neighbours to pitch in and get to know each other better.

“This is about volunteers. We get to get our hands real dirty, this is a big part to making your community safer and cleaner, working with our neighbours and getting to know our neighbours,” he said.

“If we can help our neighbours with our properties, I think that’s what pitch-in week is all about.”

Botha said keeping the community clean is also an important step in crime prevention.

“We really see neighbours coming together, standing together and communicating more,” he said.

When we look at better design for communities, making sure they’re visually appealing makes it better, not just from a perception point of view, but if we have cleaner properties, cleaner yards, it makes it less of a nuisance to your neighbours or the community at large.”

It won’t just be the councillors and their ward residents working to clean up their communities. On May 9, city staff will head out downtown to do their part to clean up that neighbourhood.

“It’s lovely,” said Coun. Lennox-Zepp, whose ward includes the downtown area. “It’s nice to get outside, especially when the weather is nice, and pitch-in.“

Again, this year, several schools are also getting involved. Students from Wesmore, Queen Mary Ms. Michael’s, École Valois and Riverside will get involved. Miller creates little gift bags for the students. Those are ready to go and she’s eager to see the kid at work.

“It’s exciting to go with the kids and see what they do,” Miller said.

Miller said you can definitely tell the difference before and after the community clean up. After, lots of that garbage strewn across the road when the snow melts is gone and the city just looks better. She’s happy her fellow councillors are stepping up to help.

“It’s absolutely wonderful to have partners doing this with me,” she said.