Hamilton’s downtown has been a little bit cleaner in recent weeks since the city ramped up efforts following scrutiny from nearby landlords, businesses and residents.
The boost in litter collection, power washing of sidewalks and general sweeping was the result of a public consultation in June insisting the downtown core’s appearance had eroded.
“In that report were a series of actions that we recommended, which council approved, to improve the state of downtown,” Economic Development’s senior project manager Phil Caldwell explained.
“Mainly with respect to improving the office market and attracting office workers downtown, but also more generally to improve the overall state of downtown.”
Adapting the report’s recommendations this month expanded manual litter collection from six days a week to seven, and upped sidewalk sweeping to seven days a week as opposed to the previous five.
A so-called “Downtown Cleanliness Team” operates within the Waste Management division and now enlists a total of 22 staffers, made up of labourers, operators, seasonal staff, lead hands and a supervisor.
In addition to general street cleaning, the team responds to illegal dumping and collects waste in alleys.
There’s also a roadway maintenance initiative and graffiti removal that operates independently of the waste management division.
Over the next year, the city is expected to spend up to $780,000 keeping an area enclosing Murray Street, Hunter Street West, Bay Street North and Wellington Street North.
About $280,000 of the money is expected to come from the Economic Development Initiatives Project fund and will be put towards the purchase of another “Glutton” street vacuum as well a sidewalk sweeper, power washing equipment, and push carts.
However, weeks after getting the city to step up street cleaning, downtown retailers and residents may have to resort to doing it themselves should there be a city workers strike on Monday.