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Councillor says Innisfail's Centennial Park turned into ‘pigsty’

Coun. Jason Heistad says he’s putting motion forward to have Town of Innisfail administration address the problem
MVT Centennial Park litter
Innisfail's Centennial Park is facing renewed complaints over litter and garbage being dumped recklessly in the parking lot. Town council is expected to discuss the new concern on Feb. 22. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – Jason Heistad is a passionate walker and almost every day he is heads down to Centennial Park, increasingly known with envy in every corner of the region as Innisfail’s natural jewel.

But lately the recently re-elected town councillor has become increasingly outraged at the mess he encounters.

He did not mince words during council’s roundtable discussion during the regular meeting on Feb. 14.

“The garbage at Centennial Park, every day is a gong show. I walk there every morning. It is a pigsty,” said Heistad, adding the problem is in the parking lot, not in the park itself. “I don’t know if there have been any complaints coming to the town office about it.

“I know we have cameras up there,” he added. “I don’t know how many times they’re used but I would like to have an update on that some time.”

The problem Heistad has increasingly seen is not new to Centennial Park.

In 2019 town council gave administration the green light to spend $8,000 on video security cameras to keep an eye on any potential anti-social behaviour. Council and administration had been looking at the park's security issue since a delegation presentation more than a year earlier proposed solutions to curb anti-social behaviour, which included litter problems.

After council, Heistad told the Albertan he believes the problem is caused by people sitting in vehicles, not regular park users.

“There are individuals that have their lunch or dinner who just throw their crap out. Some of it is young people and some middle-aged who have no respect for Centennial Park,” said Heistad. “There are thousands of people who use that area. Our town staff do a great job cleaning it up on a daily basis and I am even personally picking up garbage, and other citizens continue to pick up garbage.”

Heistad’s litter issue with Centennial Park is on the agenda for formal discussion at council’s meeting on Feb. 22. He will receive an update from administration on whether there have been citizen complaints, and possibly whether any of the littering has been identified through the security cameras.

“I am actually quite disappointed with some of our residents who just frequent the parking lot, and who are not walking on those trails,” said Heistad. “They are hanging out, meeting with friends. It is a meeting area and people are just not respectful.

“We should be looking at the cameras. Hopefully, citizens are reporting this to the town office to say, ‘you know, these people in this vehicle are throwing out garbage or they are not respecting the park'.”


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