The Clean Team’s Collaborative Community Maintenance and Beautification Efforts

Over the past few months, a variety of community stakeholders have come together to develop a coordinated neighbourhood clean-up and maintenance schedule. In May 2013, the West End Business Improvement Association (WEBIA) partnered with Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH) to form The Clean Team. The Clean Team is composed of two crew-members who spend four hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday cleaning Davie, Denman, and Robson streets. The Clean Team also conducts routine litter and cigarette butt audits in the WEBIA area.

WEBIA and GNH are also working in partnership with other organizations such as the West End Cleanup (volunteer-based cleanup group), the West End-Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre, and the Downtown Community Court to ensure cleanup coverage of every area in the West End. These partner organizations help with the maintenance of alleyways, 311 reporting of illegal dumping, and graffiti removal. In addition to their regular cleanup efforts, the West End Cleanup and the West End-Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre participated in this year’s United Way and YWCA Days of Caring at Gordon Neighbourhood House along with visiting organizations such as Stantec and The University of British Columbia.

Here are some highlights of the work that these groups have been doing since May 2013:

  • Volunteer contributions. 165 volunteer hours on May 26, 2013 for the annual Keep Vancouver Spectacular Cleanup (West End edition) hosted at Gordon Neighbourhood House; three corporate Days of Caring with The Clean Team in September and October 2013 harnessing a total of 96 volunteer hours; 182 volunteer hours through the West End Cleanup from July to November 2013. A grand total of 433 volunteer hours since May 2013.
  • 3-1-1 reporting of illegal dumping. The Clean Team and its partners are working with the City of Vancouver to report illegal dumping in alleyways.
  • Routine graffiti removal. Coordinated by the West End-Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre with paint and supplies provided through the Community Paint Out program at the City of Vancouver. Over 200 tags removed, 4 large paint-out events, and 138 volunteer hours from January to September 2013.
  • Cigarette butt audit. In collaboration with a cigarette butt recycling pilot spearheaded by the City of Vancouver and Terracycle, The Clean Team conducted a weekly count of cigarette butts on the 1100 block of Davie St. from October 17 to December 12, 2013. Public support for this kind of pilot program (the first in North America) was granted significant momentum after a highly successful cigarette butt buyback initiative coordinated by the West End Cleanup at Car Free Day on June 16, 2013. The cigarette butt receptacles will remain on downtown city streets until May 2014, at which time the City of Vancouver will consider the long-term viability of this model. The Clean Team plans to conduct another 6-week audit spanning from early-March to mid-April 2014.
  • Power washing and leaf removal. During the months of November and December 2013, WEBIA coordinated leaf removal and power washing on West End commercial streets.

How you can help:

  • Support our regular volunteer base and volunteer cleanup events with vouchers for products or services offered at your business or organization.
  • Join a cleanup event or host one yourself that we can support with supplies.
  • Make your neighbours aware of the new cigarette butt receptacles on Davie Street.
  • Report illegal dumping and graffiti to the City of Vancouver’s call centre 3-1-1.

If you would like to learn more about The Clean Team and related neighbourhood cleanup activities please email

This is a special to the GNH Blog by Community Initiatives Supervisor, Samuel Mickelson, with input from our partners at the West End Business Improvement Association, the West End Cleanup, the West End Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre, and the Downtown Community Court.

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