Lots of litter on the lot
The Bay Arena parking lot has abundance of trash
An ongoing issue with litter near the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts has local leaders crying foul.
Known as a popular hangout for teenagers and young adults, the parking lot of the arena gets cleaned up regularly. But fast food containers, junk food packages, pop cans and other refuse are often found blowing around the area.
“The sad part about is as soon as we clean it up, that afternoon people go there and park (to eat and socialize),” said Mayor Philip Wood. “And as soon as they’re done, it needs to be cleaned up again.”
This has been an ongoing issue for quite some time. Two years ago a medical sharps container was found in the same area, prompting the installation of surveillance cameras. Unfortunately, they are not deterring people from littering, said Wood.
Stadium manager Norm Hill agrees, noting staff does what they can to keep the area clean. But he also admits there were no garbage cans around during the summer.
“They’re just not used,” he said. “People are sitting in a car and there’s a garbage can a few feet away. They still throw it on the ground.”
An all-women’s car and motorcycle group called NMBR (Not My Boyfriend’s Ride) recently contacted The Compass about the situation after it decided to use the parking lot as a meeting space.
Over a dozen members went to Bay Roberts late last month for the first meeting held in Trinity Conception.
One Bay Roberts member was embarrassed by the state of the parking lot. She told The Compass had she been aware it had that much litter prior to the gathering, she would have requested a different meeting space.
“We all hang around there being from Bay Roberts because there is nowhere else to go,” she explained. “It’s so dirty because they took the garbage cans away because (drug users) were throwing open used needles in the garbage cans. Volunteers had themselves at risk.”
Wood was quick to apologize for the state of the parking lot, adding he is also embarassed by its condition.
“I apologize to those people that felt like it was a representation of the town,’ he said. “It’s not, and we will continue to try and not give up on keeping the area clean.”
Wood and Hill agree the syringe issue is a growing problem, but there isn’t much that can be done to curb the problem.
Although there haven’t been garbage cans around for people to dump their syringes in, Wood confirmed that needles and pill bottles are still being found discarded unsafely around town. He believes the cameras have helped deter the drug use near the arena.
Unfortunately, he said, the littering isn’t as easy to track.
“It’s disappointing and frustrating to us,” the mayor noted.
Although drug use has been deterred, Wood did say there has been physical damage to the arena facility from vehicles parking around it. Some have driven into the side of the building.
NMBR invited back
Members of NMBR have indicated they would like to return to the area for another meeting, and Hill would be happy to have them.
“Let me know the day before the meet, and I’ll ensure the parking lot is presentable,” he said.
Because the parking lot has been what Wood referred to as a “cesspool” of refuse, it was a focal point for the community clean up earlier this year.
In the morning, dozens of volunteers began cleaning up the neighbourhood. Once the parking lot was done, they continued on to other part of town. But several hours later, when the volunteers returned, the parking lot was back to its initial state.
“Since late April-early May, seasonal staff have taken away 120 bags of litter and garbage from the stadium side of the parking lot,” Wood explained.
Hill can’t understand why people don’t bring their garbage home or throw it out in a trashcan along the way. He would like to see more signage in place and the RCMP to drive by more often to deter loitering and littering.
“I don’t take my garbage and throw it out of the truck. I take it home,” he said.
Wood put out a challenge to any locals that frequent the area to keep it clean.
“I would challenge anyone to clean up the area by the stadium,” he said. “Not only is it unsightly for residents and visitors alike, it’s costly to regularly pick up that much garbage.”
The parking lot of the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts on Sunday, Aug. 30 during a visit by women’s car and bike enthusiasts NMBR.