Street trash belies city's green plans 0
The unsightly streetscapes of Vancouver are inconsistent with the city's goal to be the greenest city in the world. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
A couple of months ago, I attended a meeting near Canada Place. As I exited the SkyTrain station and made my way above ground, I was astounded with what I discovered. There was litter all over the place and the street looked like the morning after a frat party.
If you are wondering why City Hall is allowing so many of our boulevards to be left unkempt with uncut grass and trash, you're not alone. While the Mayor and his entourage spend another $100,000 on their most recent junket to the London Olympics, budgets for the basics continue to get squeezed.
NPA opposition councillor George Affleck is voicing his concern that the city's tourism industry might be negatively impacted if visitors are left with the wrong impression of Vancouver.
"Tourism is very important to our local economy," said Affleck. "Do we really want tourists leaving our city with an impression of streets laden with cigarette butts and knee high grass?"
In response to the growing criticism, Vision Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie hit the airwaves and blamed Mother Nature. He claimed all that rain we had this spring and early summer is the reason why the grass is a bit longer than normal.
Louie also cited a recent opinion survey that says an overwhelming majority of Vancouver citizens are happy with the level of trash pickup in the city.
More than a few Vancouver citizens would beg to differ with Louie's assessment. In fact, one person went so far as to write an email to Affleck and City Hall saying, "To tell the truth, we have been looking to move to West Van as it is so much cleaner over there. Even in the busy areas of Ambleside. North Van is much cleaner also, just check out Lonsdale Ave. It's such a pity Vancouver has been allowed to get so bad."
Long grass and overflowing garbage bins do appear more acute in Vancouver than other neighbouring jurisdictions. While most of us expect West Vancouver to look picture perfect, even Coquitlam, Burnaby and Richmond are doing a better job of keeping their cities looking clean and green.
Few could have predicted when Vancouver set a target of becoming the greenest city in the world it would translate into poorly maintained boulevards. But if Louie is correct, few people are really all that fussed.