Pitching in to pretty up downtown


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IT’S a dirty job, but people are willing to do it.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/04/2022 (400 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IT’S a dirty job, but people are willing to do it.

Hundreds of them, in fact.

Downtown residents, workers and people who regularly frequent the area pitched in Friday to clean up the neighbourhood.

TYLER SEARLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS A group of volunteers pose for a selfie at Millennium Library Park before the set off to clean-up downtown, Friday.

“You can really see that people are getting into that community spirit,” said Pamela Hardman, who helped organize a cleanup with Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.

Hardman and her team have hosted a spring cleanup annually since 2014, except in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Typically, the cleanup happens on Earth Day, but poor weather forced them to postpone it.

This year, roughly 200 people registered to participate. That’s more than double the number of volunteers who showed up last year and a surefire sign people are coming back downtown, Hardman said.

“We’re just excited. Momentum is building,” she said. “Those of us who are downtown every day, we can see more people on the street.”

Hardman believes life is returning to normal — and she has the data to back it up.

A BIZ recent survey found the number of average daily visits to downtown rose 41 per cent from Jan. 9 to April 3.

“We’ve definitely come together as a city. I think everybody has to do their part. No matter where you look on the streets, there’s garbage to be picked up,” said David Chizda, who volunteered with eight of his colleagues from the RBC Convention Centre.

Clad in reflective vests with garbage-pickers in hand, Chizda’s crew made their way through downtown, plucking litter as they went.

A few blocks north, the Exchange District BIZ hosted a cleanup of its own.

The business improvement zones did not plan to host their cleaning efforts on the same day, but the collaboration was welcome, said David Pensato, executive director of Exchange District BIZ.

By 11 a.m., 135 people had registered or shown up to help out in the Exchange, and Pensato expected more to join in throughout the day.

“This is a strong community. We barely have to ask (people to volunteer),” he said. “It helps us get a head start on the summer season when there are more visitors, and it gives the community a chance to take some ownership, too.”

TYLER SEARLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Employees from downtown businesses, residents and community-members are rolling up their sleeves and picking up litter in groups spread throughout downtown and the Exchange District this morning. RBC Convention Centre staff Karen Ilchena and David Chizda were among the many volunteers took part in the spring clean up. April 29, 2022 TYLER SEARLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS RBC Convention Centre staff Karen Ilchena and David Chizda were among employees from downtown businesses, residents and community-members that rolled up their sleeves and picked up litter in groups spread throughout the downtown and the Exchange District Friday morning.

Pensato and his crew provided bags, gloves, pickers, coffee, and doughnuts from local businesses to support volunteers.

As of noon, the Downtown BIZ had filled more than 220 garbage bags. Last year, the Exchange District BIZ and Downtown BIZ collectively removed 150 bags of garbage.

On Sunday evening, City of Winnipeg crews will begin the annual spring street-cleaning effort, including on bridges, sidewalks and active transportation pathways.

The operation, which involves more than 500 workers and 300 pieces of equipment, will take up to six weeks.

The city is urging residents to check the Know Your Zone app and be aware of when street sweepers will reach their area. Vehicles parked on streets slated for cleaning are subject to a $150 ticket and may be towed at the owner’s expense.

The yearly yard waste collection program will also begin on May 9 and May 16 for homes in collection areas A and B, respectively.

City crews will collect grass clippings, leaves and other organic material once every two weeks between May and November.

Residents can place their waste in any reusable container, cardboard box, or paper bag and leave it near the curb on the same collection day as recycling and garbage.

People can also drop off yard waste for free at the Brady, Pacific, or Panet 4R Winnipeg Depots.

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