Kids tidy up parks
Paid to pick up litter
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.