City tack­les nee­dle clean up

The Prince George Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - Bar­bara GEERNAERT Cit­i­zen staff bgeer­naert@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

Reg­u­lar run-ins with an un­sightly col­lec­tion of nee­dles and med­i­cal waste might be a thing a thing of the past for res­i­dents liv­ing in the Pa­tri­cia Boule­vard area of Prince Ge­orge.

The city re­cently took ac­tion to de­ter il­le­gal camp­ing and dump­ing in the area, es­pe­cially north of the Mil­lar Ad­di­tion where many area res­i­dents were af­fected.

Last spring, one the lo­cal res­i­dents, Scott Roberts, went on a leisurely stroll on a trail near Sa­cred Heart School.

“I walk the trail reg­u­larly and de­spite re­peated at­tempts re­quest­ing the city to clean up the area, the haz­ardous waste re­mains,” Roberts told The Cit­i­zen in April.

The pop­u­lar trail runs from Pa­tri­cia Street, across from Gorse Street, to Fifth Av­enue.

Roberts con­tacted the RCMP as well as the city in hope of a re­sponse.

Ac­cord­ing to the city, re­ports can be made on­line and in these cases, re­ports are for­warded to the proper depart­ment.

“There must have been a break­down at some point when first re­ported,” said city spokesper­son Mike Kel­lett.

“Usu­ally, a file is opened im­me­di­ately and then fol­lowed-up the very next day.”

Since then, the city has taken steps to ad­dress the is­sues in the area.

Dis­carded nee­dles and garbage have been re­moved, un­der­brush and stalks were cut, light­ing was added to ex­ist­ing poles and a grated ac­cess road was con­structed be­hind Lower Pa­tri­cia Boule­vard.

“In re­sponse, we wanted to pro­vide a new ac­cess for po­lice and by-law of­fi­cers,” Kel­lett said.

The op­er­a­tion is due for com­ple­tion this month and area res­i­dents are im­pressed.

The city launched a new web­site in April where in­ci­dents such as this can be re­ported and then for­warded to the re­spec­tive de­part­ments.

Cit­i­zens in the area were given no­tice be­fore cleanup crews ar­rived.

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY BRENT BRAATEN

Crews have cleared brush along Pa­tri­cia Boule­vard. The area was a pop­u­lar place for drug use with hun­dreds nee­dles left around.

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