Under grey skies and the threat of showers, residents of Niagara on the Green gathered to celebrate Earth Week by holding a spring neighbourhood cleanup on Saturday.
After two years when the annual cleanup could not be held due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s environmental blitz proved to be a huge success.
All in all, in just a couple of hours, more than 25 bags of garbage and debris were collected, much of it items that could have been recycled.
Residents were joined by members of the Niagara College Student Administrative Council and college students to scavenge the neighbourhood, looking for trash, recyclables and other leftover debris. At the same time, Niagara College held its own cleanup at the NOTL campus.
New this year was the addition of several Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club members to help tidy up the neighbourhood.
“Members of the Rotary Club of Niagara-on-the-Lake commemorated Earth Day by joining forces with our neighbours in Niagara on the Green, Niagara College and the town,” Rotarian Jeanne Manning commented in an email.
“Many bags of garbage and debris were collected. We made new friends and celebrated with hot dogs and hamburgers compliments of fellow Rotarian and owner of PigOut, Anne Dickson.”
Also among those participating were Lord Mayor Betty Disero and Couns. Norm Arsenault, Allan Bisback, Gary Burroughs, Wendy Cheropita and Sandra O’Connor.
In pre-cleanup remarks, Disero said, “Niagara on the Green is an amazing community that shares a strong bond and partnership with Niagara College. I am pleased to work alongside them, my council colleagues and the NOTL Rotary to clean up vital public spaces.”
“Earth Day and the many activities taking place to show we care about our planet brings hope to everyone for a bright future.”
One of the organizers was Lianne Gagnon, director of student services at Niagara College and also a resident of the neighbourhood.
Speaking to the group, Gagnon thanked the Student Administrative Council, college students and everyone else who helped out.
“This event has gained so much momentum and illustrates how we can all work towards a cleaner environment. It starts in our backyards and grows from there,” she said.
The bags of garbage were collected afterward by staff from the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The town also donated the garbage bags and protective rubber gloves.
Town workers remarked this was the largest amount of trash they had ever picked up after a group cleanup.
After the blitz was completed, fellow participant Linda Hardaker observed it was unfortunate that most of the debris and garbage collected was actually items that would have otherwise gone into the blue and grey bins for recycling.
Steve Hardaker has lived in Glendale for over 11 years and is active in many community organizations.