News: Capital Ex cleans up nicely

Published in the August 2nd issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

Capital Ex cleans up nicely

Edmonton Sun

Throughout the past 10 days of Capital EX, I had found myself pleasantly surprised by the overall tidiness of the exhibition.

But on Sunday, I wanted to see just how much goes into keeping Capital EX clean.

“If you walk around the grounds, you will see for the most part, that it is very, very, clean,” assured Mark Wiesner, Northlands business unit manager for facility operations.

Could I have taken Wiesner’s words for it? Sure, but I decided to see for myself.

Hand-sanitizing stations were easy to spot.

There was a multitude of garbage cans and recycling bins around every corner.

And a team of people dressed in bright green, equipped with brooms and blue garbage bags, walked back and forth across the grounds, scouring for any sign of litter.

So far so good.

But I wanted to take it a step further by conducting a few cleanliness tests of my own.

A walk-by litter drop on the floor of the food court proved that the Expo Centre clean-up staff were quick. The ripped up pieces of paper I had inconspicuously dropped were swept up in a matter of minutes.

A check on all five public women’s bathrooms in the Expo Centre found that each bathroom comes with its own attendant, who checks stalls, wipes sinks and replaces garbage bags.Ê

I even broke down the gender barrier and ran in on two men’s bathrooms for a quick check – spotting clean floors and bewildered expressions on a few faces – before running back out.

Wiesner says there are 42 hand sanitizing dispensers inside their building, which is checked several times a day. There’s also 12 hand-sanitizing stations with two dispensers at each station located on the actual midway courtesy of North American Midway Entertainment (NAME).

However, a stroll across the midway testing all the sanitizing stations proved that many of them were empty, and then another check an hour later proved that many of them weren’t refilled.

And how clean are the areas where we’re getting our carnival food?

Although I wasn’t able to get into the midway food stands and check myself, Amber Swedgan with NAME, says stands are cleaned prior to opening, prior to closing, and in between.

“We say that time to lean is time to clean — if they’re not busy, they’re cleaning,” Swedgan said.

Finally after chatting with several fairgoers about whether they thought the words “sanitary” and “Capital EX” go hand-in-hand, the answer was clear.

Wiesner tells me it’s Northland’s “goal to keep the grounds as clean as possible” with daytime and nighttime cleaning staff, the “green team” and a litter crew.

The conclusion I’ve come to after my day scoping for dirt and talking to other visitors at Capital EX, is that he isn’t lying 1/3 there’s definitely a system that’s working.

Other than the lack of hand sanitizer refills, the only other failure I found was a questionable stench coming from the area of the Family Fun Town Farm animals. Not pleasant.

But despite those two minor bumps, Capital EX, you get a 10/10 for keeping me — and countless other fairgoers — feeling nice and sanitized. See you next year.

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