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Event Clears Junk, Uncovers Useful Items for Residents

‘Junk Amnesty Days’ at Keenleyside apartment building in Wesbrook promotes sharing economy while helping households de-clutter.

Since late 2021, the strata council for the Keenleyside apartment building in Wesbrook Place has been holding a four-day event twice a year that gives residents an opportunity to discard or give away stuff they no longer want. And best of all, council pays for removal.

This event, called Junk Amnesty Days, has proven to be extremely popular and greatly reduces the problem of unwanted junk left behind in our garbage room, locker rooms, the lobby, and elsewhere.

It is not a huge effort by council, and student renters and long-term residents benefit through the recycling of old, but useful stuff.

Keenleyside residents are grateful to the council members who have contributed to its success by volunteering to organize our Junk Days.

Here’s how it works

The event is held in late April (for students leaving after Winter Session) and again in late November.

Almost anything that cannot be discarded in the garbage, recycling, composting, or at the UNA Green Depot is allowed. Items too large for the disposal truck and prohibited items such as propane gas canisters, paint, and electronics not taken by our junk disposal company are excluded.

For location, council appropriates our dedicated car wash space in the underground garage for a period of four days, from Thursday to Sunday.

Pick-up by our junk disposal company occurs first thing Monday morning and is organized by council members. Our strata management company conducts on-site supervision of pick-up and takes care of payment.

The entire process takes about three weeks. We first notify our strata manager to book the junk removal and pick-up supervision. We then identify the dates for the event and draw up notices to inform residents. The notices are posted in our official noticeboards and other visible areas two weeks in advance and include dates, location, what’s allowed to be discarded and what isn’t, and an invitation to residents to pick up things that have been discarded that they might want.

The night before, council volunteers tape off the car wash so no-one can drive in. They then take our council meeting table to the car wash area with two signs: one reads “Please feel free to take anything you want” and the other says “Please don’t take me” (meaning the table).

Then comes the fun. At first not much accumulates. However, from Friday night through to the weekend, a myriad of items show up: big, small, usable, and real junk. Residents come by, drop off stuff, and browse.

Over the years, residents have picked up children’s games and toys, books, and furniture. By Sunday night, the car wash is usually full. Volunteers check the area periodically in case the space is too crowded or is unsafe. They also check if any prohibited items have been left, in which case council is responsible for removal. Luckily, this has only happened once.

We book our removal truck for first thing Monday morning, with their staff picking everything up for delivery to the appropriate disposal site.

After pick-up, council volunteers check that the area is clean and empty, and remove signs, table, and tape, until the next junk day.

Pros and Cons

For council, the benefits of Junk Days are that unwanted things do not end up inappropriately dumped in the building. For residents, it is an easy way to get rid of materials that are otherwise expensive and time-consuming to dispose of, and it is an opportunity to pick up unwanted but useful items.

On the negative side, it takes up time for council and volunteers, and the cost of disposal is increasing. We have to consider this when making our annual budgets.

However, residents are pleased with the service. I believe that this positive feeling benefits council in all our interactions with residents and owners.


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