Monday, October 3, 2022 (Wetaskiwin, Alberta) — With the increase of activity that always comes in the fall, Wetaskiwin’s Recreation Grounds is seeing an increase in the amount of garbage littering the grounds.
To combat the growing amount of litter, over the next few weeks, the City’s enforcement services will be increasing its presence at the Recreation Grounds (4514 50 Avenue), which includes the skate park, toddler park, baseball diamonds, and parking lot areas shared by the Manluk Centre: Wetaskiwin Regional Aquatics & Fitness and the Civic Centre: Twin Arenas & Drill Hall.
“The Recreation Grounds is a popular and busy area in the city, especially in the fall. There is an uptick in littering this time of year and we need everyone — especially the students and athletes who are regular rec grounds users — to step up and help keep it clean,” said City Enforcement Services Sergeant Trent Jager.
“Littering hurts not only the environment, but the community at large. It impacts the city in terms of budget, quality of life, safety, and health.”
The City has met with members of Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools and staff at Wetaskiwin Composite High School to discuss concerns about the increased garbage at the skate park and parking lot. The high school has expressed support for the effort to get the area cleaned up.
Litter poses several problems if left unaddressed. Litter can:
There are 28 garbage bins on the Recreation Grounds and while City crews regularly attend the grounds to empty bins, they often find rubbish strewn about instead of being properly placed in bins. In terms of labour hours, the City spends approximately $23,800 each year picking up garbage from the Recreation Grounds alone.
Those caught littering will receive a fine.
Littering is prohibited, as per the Community Standards Bylaw, which states “a person shall not leave any garbage, litter or other refuse in a public place except in a receptacle designated and intended for such use.” Fines for offenders caught littering start at $250 for the first incident, rising to $500 and $1,000 for subsequent offences.
Habitual offenders could also face fines under the province’s Petty Trespass Act or Trespass to Premises Act. [KH1] If found in violation of these acts, offenders could receive a fine up to $600 and face the possibility of being banned from the Recreation Grounds, including the parking lot..
There are several ways residents can help tackle the trash problem:
While enforcement services will be trying to crack down on littering, they will also be on the lookout for youth exemplifying positive behaviour, such as tidying up the trash and using garbage bins appropriately. If peace officers spot a youth performing good deeds, they could be thanked with a positive ticket and a small reward.