Kids tidy up parks

Paid to pick up lit­ter

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

If Can­nons Creek Lakes have been lit­ter-free lately, it’s be­cause lo­cal kids have an in­cen­tive to keep it tidy.

Young peo­ple be­long­ing to the Can­nons Creek Op­por­tu­nity Cen­tre earn $15 an hour from Porirua City Coun­cil to pick up rub­bish in the re­serve.

The kids were recog­nised by mayor Nick Leggett for their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the scheme at a cer­e­mony last month, when a new sign an­nounc­ing the part­ner­ship was un­veiled.

The scheme sup­ports fund­starved com­mu­nity groups, says coun­cil parks and re­serves man­ager Bill Inge.

‘‘We can pay them money to help main­tain the park.’’

The coun­cil also saves money by not hav­ing to as­sign its grounds­men to cleanup duty, he says.

‘‘So I can make my pot go fur­ther.’’

He hopes as kids take a per­sonal in­ter­est in the park’s tidi­ness, they will peer pres­sure their friends out of drop­ping lit­ter there. The coun­cil has part­nered with three groups for the lit­ter scheme, the oth­ers be­ing Pukerua Bay Scouts and the As­cot Vik­ings.

Money is given to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, which chooses whether to pay the kids for their labour or use it for ac­tiv­i­ties, he says.

Five or six kids turn up reg­u­larly for the twice-monthly tidy­ing ses­sions, and get a kick out of clean­ing the park, Can­nons Creek Op­por­tu­nity Cen­tre chair Patti Beetham says.

‘‘We were wait­ing for them to have a moan, but they loved it.’’

Af­ter the kids have been paid for their two hours’ work a fort­night, the Op­por­tu­nity Cen­tre uses the left­over coun­cil money to fund its free hol­i­day pro­gramme and af­ter-school ac­tiv­i­ties, she says.

At July’s cer­e­mony mayor Nick Leggett asked the Op­por­tu­nity Cen­tre kids to con­tinue their en­gage­ment with the coun­cil, urg­ing them to tell coun­cil­lors what fa­cil­i­ties they’d like to see in the city.

‘‘Put some pres­sure on us,’’ he told them.

The kids’ main concern on the day was a re­vamp of Can­nons Creek’s Hamp­shire St skate park, which was last re­sealed 12 years ago.

Lit­ter be gone: Young peo­ple are be­ing paid by the coun­cil to clean up Porirua’s parks. Pic­tured are mem­bers of Can­nons Creek Op­por­tu­nity Cen­tre, with Bowdy Matau­tia at cen­tre hold­ing aloft a can he saved from lit­ter­ing Can­nons Creek Lakes.

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