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Getting their pick of the litter

People have been actively collecting trash from Latham Island to Kam Lake, making sure every piece of piece of garbage gets canned.

The Victoria Day long weekend saw City of Yellowknife crews split up into 35 teams, tasked with the duty of stewardship as they cleaned up garbage ridden areas around the city.

photo courtesy Capt. Soomin Kim/Joint Task Force North
Cpl. Roseanna Brake, front, Capt. Ellick Pau, at rear, and other JTFN members participate in Yellowknife Spring Cleanup along the Ingraham Trail near the Chateau Nova Hotel on May 18.

This year a lot of labour has been put in by 700 volunteers, translating to a collective amount of 1,200 – 1,500 hours of labour cleaning over the course of seven days, said facilities manager David Hurley.

Spring clean-up is an annual chore in Yellowknife, cleaning up waste that emerged after the snow melts.

Community organizations can obtain a service contract with the city. They are then assigned an area of the city to clean and earn $500 per area. Some groups tackle multiple areas and use the work as a fundraiser.

City Coun. Adrian Bell said progress is being made – most notably downtown.

“(The) downtown cleanup session left me with the impression that over the past eleven years residents, volunteer groups and the City of Yellowknife have gotten much better at getting winter litter off the streets quickly,” Bell stated recently on his blog. “Allison (Bell) and I had to walk blocks further than we have in past years to find 'problem spots' and in fact we never really did find them.”

Before the spring clean up officially began last Friday, city employee Lawrence Choquette had been collecting waste along Old Airport Road since April 23.

In just over three weeks, he said he collected 120 bags of garbage.

A ten-year employee with the city's facilities division, Choquette became a local celebrity, Hurley said with a laugh, after a Facebook post from the city gathered over 300 likes and 60 shares.

A majority of the comments were people displaying their gratitude for Choquette.

“It's good people appreciate the job people like Lawrence are doing,” said Hurley. “We had some time in late April so we sent him out there because he had experience in outdoor maintenance ... it's unfortunate to say, but he will never have no garbage to pick up.”

The spring clean-up will continue into the summer as summer students are now being tasked with the duty of spring cleaning.