Volunteers cleaning up streets of Happy Valley-Goose Bay
A springtime trash cleanup in Happy Valley-Goose Bay has seen the involvement of more than 70 local businesses this year.
While walking through the trails in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, nine-year-old Jolie Linstead picked up trash and piled it in an ATV trailer.
"It's kind of disgusting when I see all kinds of garbage on the ground and stuff and I just wanted to clean it up so we could have more space," said Linstead.
Linstead is one of the dozens of people in Happy Valley-Goose Bay taking part in a weekend community cleanup. The initiative was started by four business owners after they talked about how much trash was around the town.
"Nobody could even probably guess that it would grow as big as it has," said organizer Jennie Ring-Michelin, manager and operator of Jungle Jims' restaurant and Mariner's Galley.
In a week and a half, over 70 businesses have contributed cleaning supplies, and over $10,000 worth of prizes, including Air Borealis tickets, a barbecue set and a gardening set. The amount of trash this year was too much for the town to handle alone, Ring-Michelin said.
"I think that if they were left to do this initiative on their own that they would have failed miserably. I don't think that any one entity could have taken this on," Ring-Michelin said.
"We want it more as a positive aspect and if everybody chips in like they have, by Sunday this town will be cleaned up," she said.
The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay said it does not have analytical data on litter, so they are unable to comment on if there is more this year.
On April 27, the town issued a statement warning people of "garbage and potential hazardous waste" on the town's bike trails. The town asked people to "be careful" on the trails and report garbage or hazardous materials to the Town Office.
The town has recently been in the spotlight due to what they called a "public safety" situation. The town said there has been an increase in illegal activity and loitering, and recently removed several benches in public areas.
Ring-Michelin said the clean up initiative has already started to bring about a shift in community pride.
"I've seen it with people. They're reaching out today," she said. "They're posting their pictures and you can see like 'Look what we did. We're excited,' and everybody's online, the buzz is really good."
Ring-Michelin said they joined Tim Horton's 'Pitch-In' initiative, which provided all the trash bags needed. People are encouraged to participate by cleaning up an area, then sending a photograph to the 'HVGB Community Cleanup 2023' Facebook page to be entered in the prize draw.
Linstead's grandmother Caroline Davis said every springtime they clean up their area, and the recycling money goes to Linstead's education fund. Davis said Linstead didn't know there were prizes included until after submitting her photograph.
"I wanted to show Jolie there's no good for us just to complain about things. We need to get out and take action and we wanted to make it fun," Davis said. "I'd like to see more kids getting out there and doing that and showing a lot of respect for their environment."
"I think that we should keep it clean," Linstead said. "Because if we keep throwing garbage on the ground and not recycling then we're dirtying up our earth and then we can't have another one after."