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This article was published 14/4/2009 (3931 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
IF those camera-equipped Google cars had waited another week to visit Winnipeg, they could have taken pictures of a much cleaner Manitoba capital.
The annual spring cleanup of downtown streets is already underway, while a five-week scrubbing of the entire city is slated to begin on Sunday, city officials said Tuesday.
Seven city street-sweeping machines are working overnight this week to remove sand and grit from downtown boulevards and streets, said Bruce McPhail, Winnipeg's street-maintenance manager.
The larger citywide cleanup, a $3.6-million job slated to run from Sunday evening until the third week of May, will begin with regional arteries and then move on to residential streets, he added.
The job will be more difficult than usual, as more than 100,000 tonnes of sand was spread on city streets this winter, up from the usual 55,000 to 60,000 tonnes, McPhail said.
Some of the increase was due to the pair of ice storms that bookended this winter.
"This year is going to be a tough one," he said of the cleanup job.
To complement the city effort, non-profit organization Take Pride Winnipeg will launch its annual litter-removal campaign on Friday, program and operations manager Colleen Kurlowich said.
In 2008, approximately 35,000 Take Pride volunteers helped remove trash from Winnipeg streets, sidewalks, fields, lawns, riversides and creek banks, or helped sort some the collected detritus into recyclable materials and actual garbage, Kurlowich said.
Most of the city's business improvement zones are launching cleanup or beautification programs of their own.
Winnipeg's spring cleaning begins only one week after Internet giant Google sent two vehicles to the city to collect panoramic streetscape images for future use in its Street View application, which allows visitors to the Google Maps website to virtually explore cities and towns around the world.