Wading through garbage

Slave Lake needs a lot of things to make it a more attractive and appealing community. Many of them are complex, involving long-term effort and investment that never really ends. One example: dealing with homelessness. The state of highways is another one that is complicated not because the solution isn’t simple, but because it’s provincial jurisdiction.
Other chronic problems can be much more easily and fruitfully tackled. Take the litter situation. It is a blight on any community – a real embarrassment. But it can be largely eliminated with enough will, some organization and a bit of money.

Let’s get specific. The Cornerstone shopping centre produces a huge amount of litter. The prevailing winds spread it out to the east of the shopping area, where it gets caught up in grass and bushes along the highway and along the Sawridge Creek. Lots of it ends up in the creek as well. If the municipality was serious about making a good impression on visitors, it would bear down and insist that the companies at the source of most of this stuff get organized, allocate resources and keep it clean. If it was done once per week it would be easily manageable.

The same goes for all the businesses running from one end of Main St. to the other. They should contribute to a fund, managed by the Town of Slave Lake, out of which a person or persons could be paid to do nothing but pick up trash.

Further, a dedicated trash-monitor could take a look at specific businesses to see what sort of litter management is being practiced. A lot of litter comes from individuals who just throw stuff on the ground. Not much you can do about that. But a good amount of it comes from badly controlled trash bins behind businesses. This stuff for whatever reason is not properly contained, and it gets scattered – maybe by animals – and blown around by the wind. All the proof is there. Styrofoam packing material is an obvious one. If it was properly stored it wouldn’t be blowing around the neighbourhood, breaking into tiny bits that can’t even be picked up, ending up being ingested by birds or fish. It’s a management issue, pure and simple.

So….the first thing is to acknowledge the problem. If nobody cares, then there isn’t one. If they do, get somebody to rally the businesses to the cause. Then charge a fee across the board. Then hire a trash controller or two and get this town cleaned up and keep it that way.

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