Tuesday, April 10, 2012

vibrant urban

 I took a walk around the new library and city hall building site last week.

The new library is just great. It's a beautiful building and has so much room to move around. So many areas to enjoy, so many books.  I can easily picture a new downtown as a future vibrant urban.

 Just across the street though is the ubiquitous garbage.

They want us to focus on the banners which promise a bright future, while every unattended space and ditch is trashed.

Society and the way it works has completely changed the last few decades. Yet the city and government are expecting the same old ways to be effective in fixing the problems of today's society.

They are busy building a future while seeming to ignore the present that needs fixing.

They want us to focus on the pretty pictures.

 And somehow ignore the trash just under our feet.

That was last week.

This is what I saw on my walk in my neighborhood yesterday.
It's not just the garbage that makes me sad.

It's what it represents.

 Garbage is just the tiny tip of the iceberg when you are talking about the problems of the world, there are so many bigger problems.
That is what makes me sad when I walk in Surrey.


  1. Because I attend monthly meetings to discuss issues in North Surrey, I learned that the City of Surrey funds a number of students in the summer to work with the engineering staff to clean up illegal dumping in the City.

    So, starting in May, if you, or anyone who sees garbage that needs to be picked up that you can't manage that is public places or abandoned lots, and you call the City, the engineering department hopes to be able to respond to such calls within a day if not the same day.

    Also, in North Surrey, the city has sent letters to all property owners in 2011 indicating that if their property has bylaws infractions related to unsightly properties, they have a very short time to comply with the bylaw before the city cleans it up and charges back the owner.

    So, those are two tools that we can use one of which is starting in a few weeks. I am hoping that the extra people power from the city during the summer time will connect with concerned citizens, such as yourself and my family, who have been cleaning up our neighbourhoods all year long.

    1. Much of the issue is that no-one reports dumping. No-one calls to report their neighbors. It is accepted as normal, people have given up, or they are afraid to say anything. Picking the garbage up is not really the true issue, it is more important to communicate to the residents in the neighborhoods that this is Canada and we all need to keep it clean.

      I have documented sites on which garbage remained for months until I called, then the city came. It is no big news that a letter of intention to enforce the unenforcable by-laws was sent out. North and West Surrey remains a dump site in every single unattended place, including private property, city property, behind stores, waterways, ditches, train tracks, park land and in front of my neighbors house. The vegetation is overgrowing the trash collected at the bottom of the ditches as we speak, by May much of it will be hidden. Out of site out of mind. Not to mention the tagging that is everywhere.

      My blog tries to convey the amount of trash there is. I challenge you to look at every piece on this blog as I have these last 4 months, then imagine much, much more that I haven't photographed.

      We need more creative solutions. We need cooperation among many agencies and businesses and organizations. The same old ways of picking up after people without changing their habits doesn't work.

  2. I agree with you that there is a staggering amount of trash, and that we need more creative solutions. The two tools I mentioned are just two. In my neightbourhood, we're working on creative solutions...
    In our strata, visitors to the fitness gym nearby would leave garbage and steroid needles on the street right before working out. Our strata caretaker went to the gym and talked with the owners. They now send out someone every day to pick up their guests droppings.

    The two big box stores next to us had a chronic problem with a garbage strewn parking lot, and overflowing dumpsters. I simultaneously sent or dropped off a letter of complaint and list of solutions to the store managers, mayor's office, bylaws and BIA plus copies to their corporate offices in Toronto. The next day I got a call from a Vice President and Corporate who said he would take care of it. Within 30 days, they replaced the burnt out dumpters with newer ones, built a locked enclosure and send staff out each day to tidy up the parking lot.

    The Surrey Food Bank and another local agency had local residents bringing their home trash into their dumpsters. This costs those groups money for extra tipping costs and overflowing dumpsters making a mess. The food bank and the agency switched to locked dumpters to solve their local problem.

    Of course this shifts the dumping of household waste into the forests and parks, and people are still tossing away their used stuff - so these are just parts of the overall solution.

    Yesterday I found a perfect piece of lumber to install a bird house at our community garden in a dumped pile of garbage at 104 and 140th and found some more election signs (Mayor Watts and Shinder Purewal) in the grass. Those things last forever.


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