Neighbours pitching in to keep streets clean

thumb IMG_0987Starting at the beginning of April, members of Martindale will gather twice a week to walk the streets of the community, picking up litter along the way.

The idea came about when a few community members wanted to actively engage people in taking pride in the place that they live.

Mary Prasad, who has lived in the area for over 10 years, has been part of the project since day one.

“I think this type of project gives community a sense of pride,” Prasad said. “This is my community and I’m very proud of it.”

IMG 0987Mary Prasad, who has lived in the Martindale area for over 10 years, is helping to start up an ongoing community clean up in hopes to evoke a stronger sense of community pride.

Photo by Donella SwanMartindale, a community that was built up in the early 1980s, is a bustling area of Calgary’s northeast and home to just over 13, 600 people, according to the 2012 Calgary civic census results.

Prasad is raising her own family in the area, and it’s easy to see many others are doing the same. As the sunshine graced the city this past weekend, many children were out and about on their bikes, skateboards or enjoying a walk. There were also many other pedestrians out enjoying the fresh air.

Prasad said it’s very important to keep the streets clean as many residents take in the outdoors when the weather is nice.

There is a large dog park in the area on Martindale Boulevard, which is one of the places Prasad said is a hot spot for garbage and animal waste.

Up the road from the dog park is the Crossing Park School, which was also an area identified by Prasad for having litter left on the ground.

Martindale has an annual spring cleanup in June, which has been happening for seven years. But Prasad said she hopes to get people to help clean up the litter on a more regular basis.

“Garbage happens everyday,” Prasad said. “Not just once a year.”

By starting up such a group, Prasad said hopes to evoke:

  • More community pride
  • More respect for the environment
  • A stronger sense of community
  • Connections between neighbours

According to Kelly Jones, vice president of the Martindale Community Association, the key to the success of such organized events is getting people involved and understanding what’s going on.

“(After) a long winter, we need to engage people. That’s what community is all about,” Jones said.

When the ongoing cleanups begin the first week of April, the group will meet Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m. at the Crossing Park School.

The length of the walks will depend on how many people turn out and how the weather is co-operating, Prasad said.

United Way of Calgary and Area is sponsoring the supplies used for the cleanup, including garbage bags and rubber gloves.

Prasad said, “(It’s all about) being proud of your neighbourhood and focusing on the positives and what you can do to change it.”

What are you doing in your community to make it a better place?

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