20 minutes to a cleaner Waterloo

On April 16, the City of Waterloo hosted a 20-Minute Makeover. The event, held at 2 p.m., was one of many inspired by annual Earth Day celebrations.

The Makeover, co-hosted by the cities of Kitchener and Cambridge, encouraged community members, local business owners, students and city staff to take 20 minutes out of their day to pick up the litter and help clean up around town.

Mark Whaley, councillor for ward five in Waterloo, was one of many participating in the Makeover at city hall. Brandishing plastic gloves and garbage bags, Whaley enthusiastically referred to his efforts as taking a “quiet leadership role, participating with staff to show that city leadership can get a little dirty.”

While style of approaching environmental responsibility may seem progressive, it is certainly nothing new for the city.

“Waterloo was one of the first environment conscious cities in the nation,” said Whaley. “Everything we try to accomplish needs to be viewed through an environmental lens first and this is one of the ways that we can ensure that we keep the community pristine.”

The City of Waterloo has made commendable efforts towards environmental sustainability. In the theme of Earth Day, the city has commissioned an EcoActions Team that assists the community with conserving energy consumption and managing waste reduction.

Other city-wide endeavours include utilizing wind turbines, maintaining green space and the Green Roof Project, which plans to furnish Waterloo rooftops with greenery in order to improve air quality and reduce heat from the city.

Janice Works, communications specialist for the city and four-time veteran of the 20 Minute Makeover, believes that the program “improves the quality of the city every year.”

“We have more and more business owners, students and community members participate and it helps increase awareness for environmental policies and issues for the city,” said Works.

Upcoming events

The city has scheduled two more opportunities for local citizens to participate in the Earth Day festivities. On Saturday, April 17, the Tim Horton’s Community Clean-up is taking place at 10 a.m. to assist in removing litter from Waterloo Park.

This serves as a prelude to Waterloo Earth Day hosted on Saturday, May 8 at the Laurel Creek Conservation Area. Community members are invited to help plant a tree and to learn about environmental initiatives that will be coming to Waterloo.