Special Regina council meeting to discuss ‘amazing’ garbage problem postponed

A special meeting of city council to address Regina’s waste problem has been postponed to April 20 due to technical difficulties.

Thursday’s meeting was scheduled for 11 a.m. and it didn’t start until noon. The board heard owner Orion Paradis speak and after brief questions from the board, the meeting was adjourned.

The meeting aimed to address the issue of overwhelming litter, loose trash and illegally dumped items in the streets and alleys of Regina.

Com. Andrew Stevens and Dan Leblanc originally introduced the clean communities motion last April and it will be discussed on Thursday.

The city council rejected the motion last month due to other long-running matters.

Stevens said the problem was present when he was a councilor for the heritage community. When the boundaries of his ward changed to include Ward 3, which includes North Central, the problem was very apparent.

“It was amazing to see how terrible the problem was, [there was] everything from strewn rubbish to litter, illegal dumps, piles of needles and other drug paraphernalia,” he said. “It was a problem that seemed to be getting worse and it’s certainly top of mind for people in the spring bottom.”

LISTEN | Com. Andrew Stevens spoke with Morning Edition host Stefani Langenegger about the clean communities motion:

Morning Edition – Saskatchewan9:11Clean up Regina’s garbage problem

Com. Andrew Stevens is proposing more city cleanups of large objects in back alleys, as well as greater enforcement of dirty properties at a special “clean communities” meeting at Regina City Hall on Thursday. 9:11

Stevens said the problem is more than just unsightly backyards or alleyways, it’s also a public health issue that erodes “the value and quality of the community”.

There is a garbage cleanup every spring and has been for years. He wants to enlarge it.

Stevens suggested the council consider expanding service levels for some communities, as well as tougher enforcement of illegal dumping regulations.

“Maybe people don’t have the money to pack sofas, fridges and other bulky items. Mattresses, in particular, pile up,” he said. “It’s a service solution, so we’re going to look at an existing service and [propose] extending it throughout spring, summer and fall.”

Another solution is an accelerated enforcement process for private properties whose owners do not keep their yards clean.

“Regulators will perform thousands of inspections over the course of a year. We want to see this process go, in some cases, from weeks or months of notice to an actual consequence, [to] something compressed into two or three weeks,” Stevens said. “As you can imagine, it can be difficult to regulate and require residents to do particular things with their property. But we can.

“Is it difficult? Yes. Is it impossible? No.

When asked why this problem persists, Stevens suggested that some of the litter could be due to people rummaging through trash cans looking for items to recycle at Sarcan.

“It’s a socio-economic problem. If we’re talking about needles, it’s clearly a problem of addiction and consumption,” he said, acknowledging that these problems will not be solved with this particular approach.

As for the illegal dumping, he said he thought it was just disrespectful.

“I know for a fact that this happens, [some] people don’t have a lot of respect for certain communities and they’re going to think, ‘well, this is just a dump and I’m going to drive my materials from my basement, I just did some renovations and I’m going to take it towards North Central,” Stevens said. “It happens too often.”

The motion will be discussed in more detail on April 20 at 1 p.m. The city said it would not be broadcast live for the public to watch.