A Victoria Drive resident says a lack of garbage cans along that street and in neighbouring Jones Park is creating a constant pile of trash.
Sarah Albertson has worked with the Victoria Drive Business Improvement Association to pressure the city into installing more cans. She says the problem increased significantly with the recent opening of a Starbucks at Victoria and East 41st Avenue.
“It was bad enough with the garbage from McDonald’s, but when the Starbucks opened it got worse,” said Albertson. “I called the city and they said they’d get one out right away, but that never happened.”
She noted McDonald’s supplies its own garbage cans outside the restaurant, but their availability doesn’t stop diners from wandering down the street with their fast food while dropping wrappers along the way. She added Starbucks employees also attempt to keep the area in front of the shop clean, but coffee drinkers often take their beverages to go and there’s nowhere for them to dump their trash once they’re done.
“I couldn’t even get excited about getting a coffee shop because the garbage has just been so bad,” said Albertson.
She said not only has the city refused to install trashcans on Victoria Drive, it also removed one from a key location at Jones Park, which was recently “beautified.” Albertson sent the Courier a photograph showing garbage strewn on a pathway in the park in the exact location where the garbage can once stood.
“Our BIA ordered garbage cans and was told they’d get them, but then the city said the order was cancelled because they don’t have the budget to pick the garbage up,” said Albertson. “So I have my litter picker-upper and I go up and down my street until I reach Victoria where it’s just a swell of garbage.”
Albertson noted she grew up in False Creek and never experienced problems with garbage like she has since moving to the Victoria Drive neighbourhood four years ago.
“I appreciate that this [Vision Vancouver] government has started some good programs, like the homeless action plan, but it’s frustrating when they say they don’t have enough money for basic necessities like garbage cans,” Albertson said. “This has been an ongoing battle.”
Victoria Drive BIA coordinator Monique Koningstein confirmed the city cancelled an order for garbage cans, which were to be installed on the street.
“We’ve had a good relationship with the city overall and they did beautify Jones Park and install 45 bike racks,” said Koningstein. “But there used to be a garbage can there and it’s gone.”
To combat the garbage problem, the BIA has hired the Coast Mental Health Foundation’s Clean Team.
“But that takes a big chunk from our budget,” she said.
City of Vancouver media spokesperson Christie Smith told the Courier in an email that city staff planned to visit Jones Park Thursday to assess the situation. She added the city’s sanitation department has worked with the Victoria Drive BIA about their current level of service and continues to look into individual resident concerns as they’re reported.