‘A passionate, dedicated bunch’: Point Douglas community cleanup tackles excess garbage

Point Douglas residents were out in force Saturday, cleaning up garbage and litter they say mostly comes from other parts of the city.

“Definitely there’s more garbage here than a community this size can account for,” said Catherine Flynn, acting chair of the Point Douglas Residents Committee.

The annual community cleanup event brought volunteers together to pick up garbage left on sidewalks, in vacant lots, and along the bank of the Red River.

Flynn said the area has several problems contributing to an excess of garbage, including the city’s unhoused population camping along the riverbank. “We’re not going to judge people without homes, but they do abandon the encampments and then they don’t take stuff with them,” she said. “We get a lot of bedding and tents and tarps and that sort of thing being left.”

Point Douglas also has a problem with illegal dumping. “People from other parts of the city actually come in here to dump their garbage in our community,” Flynn said.

The group has found beds and other pieces of furniture left behind, along with more unpleasant items.

“There’s a load of dirty diapers that somebody dumped on Maple,” said Flynn.

They’ve also found construction garbage such as dirt, foundation remains, and pieces of concrete left along the riverbank.

She said the high number of vacant lots and boarded-up homes in the area also contributes to the problem. “We have trouble finding owners with any consistency and getting them to take care of their properties and clean up the trash that accumulates there.”

Flynn said the closer you get to Main Street, the worse the litter gets. “You kind of get the sense that people are just chucking things out their window as they go by,” she said.

She feels the city should put together an anti-littering campaign to raise awareness of the problem.

“There’s a lot of single use garbage, the coffee cups, the cutlery, napkins, that sort of thing,” said Flynn.

Dozens of volunteers showed up to help Saturday afternoon, and were given free coffee, donuts, and t-shirts in return.

But Flynn said they do it because they love Point Douglas. “It’s a really passionate, dedicated bunch that are showing up here to clean up the community.

“It’s a big, big job, but we’ve got a lot of help!”

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