Melanie Rose has lived in Regina’s Heritage neighbourhood for the last decade.
She says it’s been a decade of living amongst litter and garbage.
A walk through her neighbourhood streets and alleys and the amount of garbage strewn about is staggering.
Rose says there are many factors that led to her area having a trash problem.
She claims that rental properties are often offenders because when they move in, trash is already littered about and then they just add to the mess over time.
Food security is also an issue in the community. Rose says people are often going through the trash looking for food, which leads to litter and garbage on the ground.
Rose has written many letters to city officials over the years but she says nothing has ever come of it.
She feels the neighbourhood is getting neglected and that this type of garbage problem would not be tolerated in more affluent areas.
“Just because you’re not each making $100,000 a year, you have to live in trash?” she said.
“Sure, let’s go out and do a cleanup, but that’s not our jobs. Especially when we’re mothers working two to three jobs to pay our rent and bills. We don’t have time for that.”
It’s gotten to the point that she often drives to cleaner neighbourhoods to take her four-year-old daughter for a walk.
“One thing that could be done right away — grab some city workers, walk the alleys, pick up the garbage, put it in the bins. Some property is really bad? Write that address down and report it so we start understanding where it’s coming from,” Rose said.
The city is working on a solution, just not as quickly as Heritage residents would like.
A clean communities motion co-authored by councillors Dan LeBlanc and Andrew Stevens back in April 2021 has recently been brought back to the forefront.
“For properties owners who really don’t care much for the community and for the properties that they own, there needs to be a financial consequence,” Stevens said.
“But most importantly, there needs to be a service to pick up the trash to begin with.”
Right now, the city has no dedicated garbage and litter cleanup service aside from the bi-weekly garbage and recycling bin pickup.
At next week’s council meeting, Stevens will discuss a rapid response pickup model in high-frequency garbage and litter areas like back alleys, as well as expediting enforcement of existing bylaws and the fines attached to those infractions.
The Community Standards Bylaw regulates and enforces property maintenance standards in Regina.
Regina residents can also be fined under the Clean Property Bylaw for littering on public or private property.
Melanie Rose is aware of council’s conversations, but after a decade of trying to clean things up, she is not optimistic.
“I’m hopeful, but I’m not holding my breath.”