Kitsumkalum residents are being asked to clean up their front yards as a new bylaw comes into effect soon.
Though an official date has not been set, the new bylaw is expected to be implemented by the end of the year. Residents will have to remove any visible junk, inoperable vehicles and overgrown grass from their properties before then.
“We want people to feel proud walking around our community, there shouldn’t be a difference being in residential areas in town versus coming to the reserve, we have just improved some standards,” says Kitsumkalum communications coordinator Heather Bohn. “It’s been mostly positive [responses], we’re going to look for creative ways [to clean].”
Bohn says the new bylaw is not only to make the neighbourhoods more aesthetically pleasing but to also improve public health and safety. Many municipalities, like Terrace itself, have these bylaws in effect to ensure residences are keeping their properties clean. As the bylaw hasn’t been officially drafted, penalties have yet to be determined.
Bohn says the new bylaw is partly being introduced as Kitsumkalum is expected to have their roads paved next spring, which also includes the paving of driveways for residents. By having less debris on properties, the contractors can do their job quicker, she says.
“They’re going to start [paving] once the ground is good and we’re hoping that this fall cleanup notice will get that space accessible because otherwise, the community member may miss out on getting their driveway done if they don’t have the room to do it.”
In anticipation of the new bylaw being introduced, Kitsumkalum has posted a public notice on their site breaking down what needs to be done before it’s in effect. It also encourages a shed to be built elsewhere if the front yard has been previously used for storage.
“It’s more just to try and keep stuff out so the front yard doesn’t become a dumping ground,” Bohn says. “Maybe if they build a shed or something in the back to store those items but it’s mainly to try and keep the front visibly clean.”
She says this advance notice gives their members time to prepare and help each other out to clean up their properties before the bylaw is fully implemented.
It can take time to organize and get rid of everything, so this transition also allows for residents to not feel overwhelmed by the change. For seniors living alone in the community, Bohn says they’re thinking of ways to help them maintain their lawns.
“Some people need a few trips to the dumps so they can start now before it gets covered in snow,” she says. “We do get summer student programs here so possibly they can be of assistance, they’re always trying to help the elderly around here. Usually, they’re the ones who end up with the cleanest yards.”