Monday, June 12, 2006

The cleanest sidewalk in Montreal

I frequently see the stocky, bald owner of Cordonnerie Queen Mary sweeping the sidewalk outside his modest shoe repair business. His house is probably as immaculate as the piece of public land outside his store.

Cordonnerie Queen MaryThe cleanest sidewalk in Montreal

Unfortunately, that part of Queen Mary Road (between Decarie and Snowdon metro) is littered with white paper plates (from the $1 pizza shops) and McDonald's wrappers (from the burger joint to the east). The strip of land outside the shoe shop is an oasis of calm in a sea of disgustingness.

That strip of Queen Mary Road has seen better days. The old bank building (with the Reitman's sign on the roof) is vacant. The old Steinberg store is now a Metro supermarket. (The owner of that store doesn't share his neighbor's commitment to cleanliness. The sidewalk outside Metro is always a mess.)

I don't know if the City of Montreal gives awards or certificates to residents who improve the public good. If it does, I hope someone nominates the owner of the shoe repair shop.

But I wonder if the City of Montreal will even care. According to an article in The Suburban newspaper, elected offcials get angry when residents try to clean up their own neighbohoods on their own.

Graffiti busters hit streets
By Diodora Bucur, The Suburban
June 7, 2006

A handful of Côte des Neiges residents have decided to take removing graffiti into their own hands.

The C.D.N./N.D.G. Residents Association has launched an anti-graffiti crew of volunteers committed to keeping their community clean — with the help of a $1,000 high power pressure washer.

“It’s actually the family’s but I kind of hijacked it for my own use,” joked association vice-president Alex Montagano. “It’s a very powerful gasoline pressure washer. I’m using it to clean my property and when the need arises I’m going to go out and clean graffiti.”

C.D.N./N.D.G. borough mayor Michael Applebaum warned against cleaning public property.

“When it comes to public property, I hope they will not touch public property; it is the responsibility of our blue collars to clean public property and we don’t support any organization that doesn’t have written consent from our services to touch public property,” he said.

But he welcomed the initiative.

“Anybody who wants to help in order to remove graffiti is improving the quality of life of our residents. I encourage any community group or individual who wants to clean his private property or other properties,” Applebaum continued. “The only concern that I have is that they have to make sure that they know how to do it and that they have the appropriate insurance.”

Applebaum added that the borough will be kicking off its own anti-graffiti campaign this summer.

“We will be working with a community organization on attacking graffiti problems on private properties.”

This year, Montreal’s boroughs will be sharing $1 million on graffiti removal, including $600,000 to be used by the downtown Ville Marie and Plateau Mont Royal boroughs.

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