Opinion: Don’t blame immigrants if your Burnaby street is filthy

Chris Campbell

The recent snow has brought a flurry of emails to my inbox.

Some people don’t necessarily want me to interview them, they just want to vent about issues because they are frustrated.

I heard from a South Burnaby resident who I will call Manny because he’s afraid of people picking on him if he’s actually named.

Manny wrote fed up at the snow-clearing efforts of the City of Burnaby (“They did a terrible job,” he said), but that’s not what I found interesting.

No, Manny also started talking about his neighbourhood, which is around Elwell Street and Hall Avenue, just north of Kingsway.

“It's so dirty, nobody cleans anything,” Manny wrote, frustrated by both the city and the landlord of his building and the buildings in the neighbourhood.

“I feel shame living in that area - people blame newcomers and I am a new comer too, so it's not a good sign.

Manny emailed me a photo of all of the garbage around where he lives last spring.

He says I’d see even more garbage if there wasn’t snow on the ground.

What struck was what he said about “newcomers” or immigrants getting blamed for trash in a neighbourhood.

I certainly don’t blame newcomers for this, but I see his point about how other people like to blame immigrants. These folks – also known as racists – have this pathetic view that people from other countries are dirty or they are new and refuse to take ownership of their new community.

This is baloney. If anything, new citizens care even more about their new homes than those of us who have lived here our entire lives, said Manny.

I agree.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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