When Ralf and Karen Tschenscher moved to the City of North Vancouver in October last year, they noticed a lot of garbage strewn along streets, paths and waterfront.
Although they saw city workers cleaning streets, they still decided to do their part.
They bought a garbage picker and bags and ended up collecting 30 pounds in just a few hours.
“We love our neighbourhood and thought this was a good way to help out, while enjoying the beauty of the area and exploring our new surroundings,” Karen says.
Though they have collected a variety of things, smokers remain the biggest offenders.
“There are lots of butts out there, plastic strips from packaging, as well as the boxes themselves,” Karen says.
Having noticed smoking detritus between two park benches at Chesterfield and Keith Road, they have now zip-tied a can to a bench where smokers can discard the cigarette butts.
“We’ve picked up things from broken glass, fast food packagings and drink/coffee cups, to clothing and even a foot-long shoehorn,” Karen says.
“We also pick up a large quantity of plastic bags, some filled with dog waste, cups and straws.”
The couple has also approached CNV councilor Don Bell on the issue, who recently brought a motion to enable local citizens like Karen and Ralf to adop a street or a trail.
“Don has championed many causes over the years and really listens to and supports citizens’ ideas. He is passionate about the City and is a wonderful advocate for many,” says Karen.
Coun. Bell says many Lower Mainland municipalities have formal programs that invite residents and, in some cases, businesses and community groups, to Adopt-A-Street, Road, Path, Block, or Trail.
Typical program features include guidelines and training, including personal safety. Some municipalities also provide pickup bags and other items to assist participants.
“I believe there should be a volunteer program where interested residents and businesses can show their pride in our community by helping keep their neighbourhood streets, pathways and trails clean from litter,” Bell says.
The Tschenschers want CNV to offer safety supplies for citizens who wish to participate such as pickers, high-visibility vests, bags and gloves.
“We feel it’s a fairly inexpensive past-time and could really help to keep our city beautiful, clean and safe,” they say.
“Especially during COVID, we feel this could also be a constructive way for people who are limited in activities to get out and make a difference while getting some exercise and fresh air.”