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Broken glass all over playground
City combs trails, parks daily to ease problem

Meagan Leonard
Northern News Services
Friday, July 31, 2015

Enjoying a walk through Somba K'e Park Tuesday morning, Yellowknifer Dave Jorstead said he noticed some broken glass in the playground area.

Seeing children nearby, he started collecting the shards in his empty coffee cup. In 20 minutes the large container was full to the brim.

"And there was still more," he told Yellowknifer.

Jorstead said the issue of broken glass is not limited to the park and has been a problem in other city parks, streets and along the McMahon Frame Lake Trail.

"I saw glass on the roadway and I figured I'd pick that up since kids bike through there and I start looking around and there's glass everywhere," he said. "Nobody seems to care."

Although he does not have any children of his own, Jorstead said if he did, he would be reluctant to let them play in some of the parks, having cut his own foot on a piece of glass just last week.

"I cut my foot about four days ago on the trails on a piece of glass," he said. "It's just bad for tourism and something kids shouldn't see."

City of Yellowknife facilities manager Dave Hurley said staff are out combing trails and public spaces every morning starting at 5 or 6 a.m., but the coverage area is so large they are unable to be everywhere at all times. He said residents who spot glass pieces should call the city which will deal with it as soon as possible.

"We clean up the glass and groom the trails and try to keep on top of it as much as we can but within one hour, it can be almost as bad as what we cleaned up because people will break bottles," he explained. "It's unfortunate, but we accept it as a fact of doing business here because we can't patrol the parks and playgrounds 24/7."

Although glass on city streets continues to be an issue the city struggles to get ahead of, Hurley said implementation of the recycling program has somewhat reduced the amount of shattered glass but ultimately you can't stop people from breaking bottles.

"I think the recycling program has probably helped in terms of there is not as much broken glass today as there used to be," he said. "While it is still bad, it's not as bad as it has been previously so the recycling has definitely helped. The only thing that's going to make a difference is if people don't break the glass."

Mayor Mark Heyck said areas close to the city's core with high volumes of pedestrians are typically worse than others. He too emphasized residents should contact the city if they spot hazards in public spaces.

"Some of the parks are more susceptible to vandalism due to the volume of traffic that passes by and we try to get to these more often," he said in an e-mail to Yellowknifer. "We also encourage residents to use our new smartphone app, ClickFixYk, which allows residents to report these kinds of issues immediately and conveniently to the

appropriate department."

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