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Civic Pride

If the articles placed at the curb for pick up by town employees are any indication, activity around clean up week appears to have ramped up. Spring is a busy time. Residents are taking advantage of breaks in the weather to clean and spruce up properties anticipating the warmth and beauty of summer.

Shrubs, flowers and lawn care are high on the list of things to be done. Throw in the busy work of deck replacements, fences, bridges, roofs and vinyl siding, permits issued at the local town office indicate a promising summer for local businesses and contractors.

However, for all the excitement and enthusiasm of spring, we would be remiss if not mentioning that for some there is still a ways to go.

Civic pride in our community and the beautification of our community, are high on the list of the great majority of our residents and businesses. We are fortunate to have a community of workers and leadership from residents and businesses in doing their utmost to spruce up properties. But, for others, a glowing minority, there is a ways to go. And, I say glowing, for these locations do stand out like the proverbial ‘sore thumb’.

Frustration. As a life-long resident, and mayor, I do see it and hear it. Why can’t the town do this? Why can’t the town do that in getting a resident/business to understand that it is not right to keep an unkempt property and a mountain of waste around a door? Not only is it unsightly, such areas provide a perfect storm as a health hazard and breeding ground for rodents. Unfortunately, the lack of effort by this minority becomes the mirror casting a reflection on the neighbourhood and the town. We can always do better.

As well, not only are there a few property owners causing concern, there are still many who have no problem throwing litter out the windows of vehicles. As a walker I witness this every day.

Recently at our local train site/museum, I took the hour needed to clean the area. Two days later one would hardly know that it had been touched. Sadly, this is not the only area. A community of individuals are always cleaning areas around town only to have a repeat of the unsightly activity of garbage coming from the windows of vehicles. We can do better folks.

“Many in glass houses need to think twice before casting stones.”

Is it a sign of the times, or maybe as a town, we did not place enough of a dollar value on the work done, but for the first time in as long as I can remember, on council no one responded to the community’s tender to provide flowers and shrubs and lawn care at the many town properties.

Disappointing, yes. Very disappointing. The legacy of the beautiful work from individuals in times past now gone. For our town there now has to be a plan B. The community benches, flower boxes and colourful refuse containers will go out. Funding used for the flowers, shrubs and lawn care will be diverted to hiring additional staff to take full responsibility for town beautification.

But the town can only do so much. More than anything we need to look to residents and business owners to close the gap towards making Port aux Basques a community that with great pride we can proudly call home.

On Tuesday of this past week I started the day trout fishing in a pond not twenty minutes from my property. The clean, pristine environment with no litter along the country paths crisscrossing the edges along the banks by generations of ‘trouters’, now gone, brings a tremendous sense of pride. So much beauty. So much freedom to roam. So much of nature to enjoy. That pride is no less important than the pride felt when walking through our beautiful town. The lime painted fences may be gone but civil responsibility of keeping property cleaned and spiffed has not been lost.

Thank you residents and businesses. Your efforts are appreciated.

John Spencer

Port aux Basques, NL

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