As the warm weather slowly creeps upon us, city crews are starting to look at the parks and get them in tip-top shape.
Whether it be a nice stroll or spending time with family and friends, the parks are a nice way to get away from the hustle and bustle of your lives.
Manager of Parks of Operations, Diana Clarke, says there are many duties the city does as winter melts away and spring pops its way through.
“We pick up litter, debris, large branches and anything left behind from snow clearing. We sweep parking lots, tennis courts and basketball courts. We look after our trails and return garbage bins to the parks. We also start our sports field lining.”
Clarke says the city is also busy removing the doggy doo-doo from the dog parks.
You may also find them on the side of the road.
“We do roadside clean up because the parks crew is actually in charge of cleaning up the sides of the roads. So we’ll pick up the garbage, illegal dumping and we cut the grass on the sides of the roads as well.”
During the winter, most of us complain about some the things Old Man Winter likes to smack us in the face with. Clarke says the bitterly cold season also plays a toll on the parks.
“We pick up the debris from the snow that gets dumped in our parks. The salt and the residue can also cause significant turf damage. It also could hurt the beds where we plant our flowers.”
The parks department slows down during the winter months, although Diana says some employees are still working away on a few things.
“We paint our garbage cans, picnic tables, we clear some of the parking lots and paths. We are basically trying to prepare ourselves for when the spring and summertime come. We also like to take advantage of the mild days we’ve had in the past week.”
When the sun is shining on our faces and the heat is feeling closer to a hot summer’s day, we get a case of Spring Fever. Clarke says it’s great that people want to get out and about into the parks, but she cautions people that certain actions while the ground is still recovering from the winter could ruin the grass.
“We don’t want people driving in the parks. The grass is usually extremely wet from the snow melt. Then we’re trying to repair the ground when something else could be done.”
If you’re looking to use the sports fields, you may want to make sure you’re respecting the property.
“Our sports fields are maintained on a schedule. If someone goes on them ahead of the schedule, they could be ruined for weeks. If we can do it properly, we’ll guarantee a great field, but if someone gets on it too early, we can’t do that.
As the parks department starts their spring cleaning, Councillor Mo Salih says it’s important to keep the parks maintained.
“There’s no point in having parks if they’re not maintained. So there’s a responsibility on the crews to do their part, which I know they will be doing. There’s also a responsibility for the public to do their part as well. You know, it’s simple as being respectful and being neat when you’re in the parks.”
Each year, the city conducts their annual Clean and Green program and their asking you out to pitch in on two dates, with one being April 24th.
“This day is geared towards institutions and schools to go out around their area for 20 minutes and clean up around the building, so like you’re roadside or lawns/patios.”
London also has April 25th to give the whole city the opportunity to help clean up their neighbourhood’s.
Clarke also wants you to keep in mind of the opportunity to Adopt-a-Park.
Councillor Mo Salih believes parks are a great way to bring the community together.
“They offer an opportunity for families to go out and have a great time. There’s also activities that allow families who may not have a lot of money to still go out. It’s also great for the community to come together, meet each other and just have a great time.”
Clarke encourages everyone to visit the parks because everything thing do to keep the parks neat is for you.