Jason Brain is by no means the first local resident to be dismayed by litter in our community and take action. We have had ‘adopted roads’ in several parts of the city for years. Every spring, for example, the Fenelon Falls Rotary Club cleans up the ditches along part of CKL Road 8 going out of Fenelon.
Many other organizations, businesses, families and individuals do the same throughout our city and have done so for years: Taking personal time and effort to clean what is public land. And just ask anyone who owns property along alternate routes to our dumps – they are constantly picking up for other inconsiderate — and let’s face it — criminal people.
What Brain does represent is the modern face of community involvement: facebook activism. Brain — a Lindsay resident for more than 15 years — was dismayed at the amount of litter and garbage strewn around a picnic table near the Rainbow Bridge and cleaned it up, documenting the entire process in a Facebook video which to date has been viewed over 9100 times. In his video he noted the missing City trash can that used to be there; since his video was released, the City has brought it back.
When Brain found a hidden spot off the path near the same area, his video of it made for compelling watching. The video of that litter-strewn spot has been viewed almost 24,000 times and has directly led to City action to get it cleaned up (or issue orders to get it cleaned up).
The location showed in his second video has apparently been used as a ‘secret’ hangout for highschool students for years. Such ‘hangout spots’ have always existed (especially near high schools): I could still probably lead you to where my friends and I used to sneak away to. The problem is that now it’s not just kids and a few Coke bottles. The garbage strewn now contains needles and other bio-hazards: Brain worries about his niece or other children who might want to explore a path only to find a seriously dangerous environment.
Brain is the first to recognize that social media outrage — replying with an angry face or posting a comment like “the City should clean this up!!”– is not the same as taking real personal action. “There are a lot of people who care, but not a lot of people who get out from behind Facebook and get out and do something,” says Brain.
Brain himself was motivated by a friend in Peterborough, who does similar things at the Peterborough beach and was recently featured on Global News. His approach seems to be working, if only incrementally: Brain reports that his efforts have inspired other friends to do the same thing and people have made him aware of other locations in the city used for intravenous drug use.
He was also contacted by the City after his second video and was told that the City is now aware of the situation, responding to both Brain and the Lindsay Advocate.
“Since this involves private property,” says Cheri Davidson, manager of communications, advertising, and marketing, “we’ve initiated the the Municipal By Law complaint process and will work with the property owner to ensure this is looked after.”
She added that if anyone should come across other areas involving private property that may be in conflict with property standards in our City, to fill out this form.
Brain has started a Facebook page to “help others using the hashtag #becauseicare to get recognition on their posts about them caring for the environment.”
“I hope this inspires more people to make cleanup posts and share socially,” says Brain.