A part of downtown Red Deer on Gaetz Avenue near Country Cupboard was covered in trash Sunday morning. Contributed photo

Photos: Part of downtown Red Deer covered in trash over the weekend

Downtown businesses deal with trash, needle debris, graffiti

Part of downtown Red Deer was covered with trash Sunday morning.

Michelle Edwards from Country Cupboard posted pictures of a pile of garbage outside the business on Facebook. The 28-year-old has been helping out her family with the business for six years. She said the weekend garbage dump was the worst she has seen in the area.

Food scraps, coffee and drink cups, paper plates and plastic cutlery were spread outside Country Cupboard at 5022 Gaetz Ave. The litter continued from the stretch of 52nd Street to just before Ross Street area, Edwards said Monday.

“It was pretty much our whole side of the block.”

She also posted a picture of Dumpsters behind the Scotiabank building and MC College area, right around the corner from Country Cupboard. The photo shows a pile of rubbish next to the bins.

Edwards’ dad received a text early Sunday letting him know of the garbage that sat outside the family’s store, which was closed that day. Her mom, Cathy, went down between 9 and 10 a.m. to clean it up and spent about 45 minutes or so picking up the trash, but that time was not enough to clean it up completely.

The store’s entrance was covered with garbage.

“It looked like somebody just took a garbage can and ripped it open there and dumped it and left,” Edwards said.

The mother said trash is becoming a concern in the downtown area.

“Especially the Dumpster diving behind us and around the parking lot area Dumpsters. We always find garbage pulled out and left strewn about. And it is really disgusting that they think they can defacate anywhere they please, leaving it for us to clean up. More than once,” the woman said Monday.


With drug consumption site approved in Red Deer’s Rail Lands, at least 2 businesses look to move

Wei’s Western Wear employee Ashley Perry saw the litter as soon as she pulled in at 10 a.m. to start her Sunday shift.

“It looked like somebody was using tongs and a bag to go through the garbage, because there was a bunch of garbage all around our garbage cans in the front of our store,” said Perry, adding that her boss had to clean it up.

“It’s very disrespectful and it’s hard to bring in customers when the front of the store looks like that.”

Perry said the business donates returned or out-of-style items to the homeless because they’re “understanding of their circumstances.”

“But at the same time, we have so much property damage. Our gate got broken three times, and the window (in the past three months). There’s only so much you can take before you start getting mad,” she said.

Perry said vandalism is a problem for Wei’s. Last week, there was graffiti on the gate, for instance.

Michelle Edwards said homeless people rest in the store’s vestibule at times.

“We don’t have a problem with that … and occasionally, we find needles in there.”

“I find that if you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you. They’re people too. It’s just the occasional random ones and I don’t know if it’s mental health or drug addiction.”

Selene Fraser, the owner at Barber Shop on Gaetz, next door to Country Cupboard, said loitering is an issue. She said the new downtown police unit helps, but it would be better if rules such as no loitering and no panhandling were enforced.

“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what the answers are. I love my shop and I love my customers and I do have empathy for addicts,” she said.

Amanda Gould, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, said the group’s clean team came across the garbage in the area around 10:15 a.m. Sunday and cleaned it up within 45 minutes.

“This kind of activity is completely isolated. Our clean team is very, very quick to tidy it up,” said Gould.

“Although this is an isolated incident, we do see it from time to time. Sometimes, it comes from our street population, and they may have knocked over their cart or something like that. Who knows what it could’ve been, but we’re there to clear it up,” Gould said.

Prairie Office Plus was once located at 5022 Gaetz Ave., but the business relocated to Taylor Drive in July. General manager Sandra Farquharson said issues that come with the homeless population was one of several reasons the business moved to another part of the city.

For the seven years Farquharson was working downtown, she saw two company vehicles constantly vandalized in the back parking lot. Farquharson said she often found trash from the nearby Dumpsters on the property.

“People would graffiti our building. Often Monday morning, I would come in expecting to do a full clean from the weekend, and the cleanup included clothes, beer bottles, drug paraphernalia, needles, pipes that people are smoking out of, condoms, even human feces, which is insane,” she said.

Farquharson kept a crowbar at her desk and threatened to use it several times.

“They would tell me they could steal whatever they want and there’s nothing I could do about it. I would have people standing in front of the windows swinging chains, trying to intimidate the people in the store. Customers wouldn’t want to come to my store, or I had to walk them to the car,” she said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


A part of downtown Red Deer on Gaetz Avenue near Country Cupboard was covered in trash Sunday morning. Contributed photo

A part of downtown Red Deer on Gaetz Avenue near Country Cupboard was covered in trash Sunday morning. Contributed photo

A part of downtown Red Deer including Gaetz Avenue near Country Cupboard and some back alleys were covered in trash Sunday morning. Contributed photo

Cathy Edwards, owner at Country Cupboard in downtown Red Deer had to clean up the trash outside her store Sunday morning. Photo contributed

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake man charged with killing his wife makes court appearance

Satnam Singh Sandhu charged with second-degree murder in connection with death of Kulvinder Sandhu

Red Deer-conceived Fringe play that pokes fun at aging actors gets a local run

The Thin Grey Line, by Blaine Newton, runs Sept. 27-30 at downtown library

Alberta inquiry into oil and gas foes could face legal challenge from Ecojustice

CALGARY — An environmental law group is threatening legal action if the… Continue reading

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9 per cent in August as gas prices weaken

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 1.9 per cent… Continue reading

Iran tells US retaliation looms if targeted for Saudi attack

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has warned the U.S. it will retaliate “immediately”… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: A safe supply of water has long been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

New parent charged in admissions scam, linked to $400K bribe

BOSTON — A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re “stepping away” from ice dancing

Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are… Continue reading

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn… Continue reading

13 seasons in, stars reflect on success of ‘Heartland,’ Canada’s ‘comfort food’

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — Alberta-born actor Shaun Johnston had already had a… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Freedom of expression or personal attack? Nurse appeals fine for Facebook post

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s highest court is to decide what’s next for a… Continue reading

Most Read