By Brenda Duke

On Behalf of Beautiful Alleys

Twice a year, Canadian National Railway (CN) joins The Track Gang to close a section of rail line and provides staff and equipment to help us and keep us safe by stopping the trains.  Remember, it is illegal to trespass within 45 feet of the tracks for your safety! That means walking, biking, and crossing the tracks. You can be fined! Or be the victim of an accident. CN also provides the funding to purchase additional tools, refreshments, CN “bling” and disposal bins in addition to bags and gloves we receive from Team Up to Clean Up.

On May 6, 2023, dedicated volunteers from Beautiful Alleys and the community partnered with CN to clean one small stretch of property adjacent to the tracks. I say “small stretch” because there’s over 600 miles of CN rail throughout Canada. Beautiful Alleys and The Track Gang are the only community group to have this unique partnership in Canada. We tackled from Victoria to Cheever…again! In the past five years, we have focused on the area from Wentworth to Cheever consistently. Our efforts paid off when we finally saw less illegal dumping from Wentworth to Victoria and we can look forward to beautifying that area.

Last fall, we did the Emerald to Cheever site and collected three (3) tonnes of illegal dumping. This spring, we picked up four (4) tonnes! That’s not the direction we want to take. Neighbours are tired of complaining and hope that some volunteer group will show up or their calls to by-law will be acted on. In the meantime, it is attracting disease and rodents.

Did you do some renovations and load up your truck? Was it easier to bring it to a public space than to pay twenty dollars at a dump? Did you know you can request a waiver for dumping fees from the city?

Do you have too many diapers and too much garbage for the one bag limit? Did you use the tags the city sent you? Did you call for more? Did you know there are extras given to multi-unit homes or families with extra need? Do these illegal dumping habits justify spending over two million dollars a year of our tax dollars on picking up and disposing of illegal dumping?

Let’s get this fixed! We must stop abusing our neighbourhoods, our volunteers and our city.

Until that happens, we want to thank the volunteers and supporters who make it possible. It means a lot to work together as a community and gathering after to celebrate with a pizza lunch from Macy’s Food Mart. Thank you all for helping to Keep Hamilton Clean and Green.