The Budget For Junk Removal Needs A Big Boost In Vancouver

Vancouvers’ Junk Problem

When was the last time you walked down a street with a garbage bag and picked up someone else’s litter?

The most recent event over a camping trailer being towed and dumped at Strathcona Park, then left for several days before finally being yanked away by City staff, highlighting the belief that in Vancouver, it’s okay to dump whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want.

In this case, if the tweeted photos hadn’t been picked up by local media and championed by Park Board Commissioner John Coupar, who knows how long this camper might have stayed in the park.

Recent attempts by the Council and staff at the City of Vancouver to beef up the street cleaning budgets are far from what really needs to be done to dampen growing anger about the state of cleanliness in the city. 

Whether it’s garbage overflowing from cans along Robson Street, abandoned urban camp structures in retail alcoves along Granville Street, chewed gum or cigarette butts tossed away on our sidewalks, mattresses and other residential garbage dumped in alleys, and yes, the crisis in our parks, the City and the Park Board need to be tenacious and actually budget for the removal of garbage, and abandoned vehicles.

This is about priorities. Taxpayers will support moving current funds into managing the mess, and doing more for residents than any other line item in the operating budget (the money is there because the operating budget has gone from $800 million 2017 to $1.6 billion today).

Frankly, it is a sad statement about the current state of affairs that most of us don’t want to take responsibility for the cleanliness of our city. Most residents probably believe it’s someone else’s job to clean up the neighbourhood.  The current city budget set for the removal of garbage across our city, which was recently increased by the current council, is a fraction of what it needs to be. The problem is literally right in front of our faces, yet the solutions are seriously and significantly underfunded.