Lots of lit­ter on the lot

The Bay Arena park­ing lot has abun­dance of trash

The Compass - - NEWS - BY MELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

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.”

NMBR meet

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.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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