The team will pick up discarded needles.

The team will pick up discarded needles.

Clean team for downtown Maple Ridge

The idea is to get a small group of people to hit the streets in the early hours and clean up messes from the night before.

Maple Ridge is taking another step at keeping downtown presentable with the formation of a “Clean Team.”

The idea is to get a small group of people to hit the streets in the early hours and clean up messes from the night before.

Clothes, garbage and needles are often found downtown and business owners have to do the clean up before opening for the day.

Council considered the proposal at its committee meeting this week.

To get the project underway, the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association is seeking $14,000 for a year so it can partner with Alouette Addictions Services.

Alouette Addictions would run the program as an extension of its “rig-dig” program, for which people in treatment or drug users collect discarded needles from Maple Ridge streets.

“We are willing to start as soon as we can,” said Ineke Boekhorst, with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association.

“We’re hoping for a five-days-a-week program.”

While the cleanup duties would be unpaid, participants could get gift certificates or discounts from local businesses as incentives.

Annika Polegato, with Alouette Addictions, says the size of the clean-up team depends on funding and needs of the community.

Alouette Addictions has been operating its Rig Dig program for about a year. Drug users or those in treatment patrol city streets a few hours a day a few times during the week, or respond to calls from businesses, and pick up discarded needles.

Council is to consider the funding request at this week’s meeting.