Perhaps we, as citizens of Estevan, need to extend the local cleanup committee's mandate and mission statement from "Keep it Clean" to one that better describes our current condition.
What about "Get it Clean and Keep it Clean ?" We believe that would be more appropriate since the Energy City has a long way to go before we can allow ourselves to cast an admiring glance at our city's state of neatness.
Right now, there is nothing neat about it.
But to be fair, Estevan, and any other city in Saskatchewan, will never be spotless in early spring. With winter's debris just now getting removed from local lawns, curbs, sidewalks and roadways and with very little green growth and hardly any floral displays to speak of in public places, we're all looking a little drab and more than a little dusty around the edges.
It will get better, we promise.
While we await the arrival of the City of Estevan's cleaning crews other than the hard-pressed street sweeper that so far appears to be waging a losing battle, there are lots of things we could be doing as responsible citizens to make our city take on a more pleasant look.
We can begin by bringing out the rakes and brooms to get rid of our own private collection of post-winter trash including leaves and abandoned coffee cups.
We can send out a reminder to our youngest residents that it is their city too, and that all those recycling lessons that apparently haven't stuck with them in elementary school need to be refreshed in their memories.
The City of Estevan has gone to great expense to strategically place sturdy and fairly pleasant-looking trash containers within our city boundaries. One or two will be found near high traffic areas. Yet we still see young people (and a few seniors) casually tossing wrappers, cups and even a good number of recyclable bottles and cans onto the street, only a few steps away from one of these garbage containers, with the expectation that someone else is going to clean up after them.
It's probably too early for painting and full bore scrub downs, but it's not too early for those preliminary steps we noted before. A half-hour with a rake, broom or cleaning cloth can do wonders with a yard, home, garden or front walk. Cleaning out a bird bath, trimming a dead branch, pushing the curb debris into a dust bin will make your full bore cleaning schedule a lot easier later on.
It's called pride of ownership ... whether you rent or are paying a mortgage, it's still yours and it's your responsibility, not the City's. They have enough problems of their own. They have streets to pave and water and sewer lines to put into place and boulevards with thousands of trees to care for as it is. They don't have time to pick up your abandoned soft drink bottle or pull your dandelions. They have dozens of acres of parks, sporting fields and green spaces to take care of. Their equipment, personnel and budgets are limited.
So keep in mind, April 16 marks the start of the local Keep it Clean campaign.
This week we can begin making Estevan a better looking place by Getting it Clean.
We remind local residents that the City is extending a helping hand to those who do take a little pride in their property by offering fee-free unloading of trash at the Estevan landfill site for that week.
That should be incentive enough for us to get out into the yard, enjoy some of that early Saskatchewan sunshine, listen to a few birds, catch the antics of our resident squirrels and maybe visit with a neighbour between cleaning shifts. After all, it doesn't seem to be work if we do it with a positive attitude.