Colwood city staff are now being directed from priority infrastructure to picking up litter. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)

Colwood looks at reopening garbage cans as litter, dog poop pile up in parks

City staff are now being redirected from priority infrastructure to picking up litter

As public garbage cans are currently closed in Colwood to help limit the spread of COVID-19, people with dogs aren’t getting the message despite cans being wrapped in caution tape.

Numerous bags of dog poop and litter were spotted in a Colwood park March 30, placed neatly next to the garbage can — ironically just under a sign asking people to clean up after their pets.

“Clearly, I’m disappointed. It also is a bell-weather on how much people do or do not understand the seriousness of COVID-19,” says Mayor Rob Martin. “If those individuals who are littering truly understood the danger they were putting others in, they wouldn’t be doing it. We definitely still have some teachable opportunities.”

READ ALSO: Two men arrested after lying about having COVID-19 to stay in AirBnb unit for free

People using the park are expected to take their trash away with them says Martin, adding that it has “become clear to the city that we will need to re-open strategic garbage cans due to all the litter.”

Martin explained how city staff who were focusing on priority infrastructure have had to shift focus to picking up litter in this pandemic — putting them at risk of possible COVID-19 exposure.

READ ALSO: Rest stops barring washroom access to truckers a ‘huge problem’ as COVID-19 spreads

“One of the reasons we chose to close the garbage cans was to protect city staff and lower the risks of transmission. Instead, these workers are left to engage with every single poo bag or piece of trash individually as they have to pick it all up,” he said.

On Monday, Colwood issued a public statement reminding residents to take their garbage home with them when a bin is clearly closed — “a necessary practice any time a public bin is not available,” reads the statement.

“It’s never OK to throw your trash on the ground,” says Martin. “If there is no garbage bin available, you need to take litter with you, no matter what the circumstances are.”



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

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