Irate about il­le­gal dump­ing

Lead­ers in Spa­niard’s Bay, Bay Roberts voice frus­tra­tion; say prov­ince partly to blame

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS / NICHOLASMERCER THE COM­PASS

Mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers in Spa­niard’s Bay and Bay Roberts were voic­ing anger and frus­tra­tion last week over the on­go­ing prob­lem of il­le­gal dump­ing in the re­gion, with some of­fi­cials sug­gest­ing the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is partly to blame.

The is­sue was a hot topic at coun­cil meet­ings in both towns as coun­cil mem­bers re­acted to on­go­ing com­plaints from cit­i­zens.

The fo­cus of dis­cus­sions at both meet­ings was Muddy Hole Road, which winds along the boundary of both towns. The area has be­come a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for il­le­gal dumpers, and is lit­tered with tires, ap­pli­ances, build­ing sup­plies, au­to­mo­tive parts, elec­tron­ics, glass and much more.

Mem­bers of both coun­cils re­viewed pho­to­graphs of the area that were sub­mit­ted by a con­cerned res­i­dent, and many expressed dis­gust at the com­plete dis­re­gard some peo­ple are show­ing to­ward the en­vi­ron­ment.

Spa­niard’s

Bay

Mayor

John Drover said the prob­lem is “get­ting worse all the time,” and he pointed a fin­ger at the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, sug­gest­ing that hav­ing a re­gional land­fill es­tab­lished in St. John’s at Robin Hood Bay is the rea­son many peo­ple turn to il­le­gal dump­ing.

“Gov­ern­ment is shy­ing away from this” prob­lem, Drover said, adding that the prov­ince should take a more ag­gres­sive stance on the en­force­ment of dump­ing laws.

Many are hop­ing that a pro­posed new re­gional bulk waste dis­posal site planned for Har­bour Grace will help ad­dress the prob­lem of il­le­gal dump­ing.

These fa­cil­i­ties, known as waste re­cov­ery fa­cil­i­ties (WRF), will al­low res­i­dents to dis­pose of bulk items, in­clud­ing ap­pli­ances (wash­ers, dry­ers, hot water boil­ers), fur­ni­ture (mat­tresses, couches, ta­bles), shin­gles, tires, con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion waste.

The site was ini­tially sched­uled to be open by this sum­mer, but there’s been no word lately from East­ern Waste Man­age­ment.

Many lead­ers, in­clud­ing Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood, also expressed frus­tra­tion that many of the items dis­carded il­le­gally are rou­tinely col­lected by mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, or can be dis­posed of at lo­cal re­cy­cling com­pa­nies.

“It still boogles my mind. The Town of Bay Roberts, as far as I’m con­cerned, is do­ing an ex­cel­lent job with giv­ing peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to take items, ex­cept for some shin­gles ... we even take some con­struc­tion, if you are do­ing per­sonal con­struc­tion,” he said. “We even take dishwashers. Any­time of the day but we still end up with the same is­sues.”

Wood won­dered why peo­ple would take the time to dump ob­jects like sinks and mi­crowaves in ditches in­stead of avail­ing of the ser­vices pro­vided by the town.

“They could’ve put it out by their door, and our coun­cil work­ers would’ve taken it,” he said.

Wood ap­peared frus­trated by the amount of garbage be­ing dumped in Bay Roberts, and it’s not just the bulk garbage be­ing found in the woods.

“We sent two clean­ers up to tidy up the Bay Arena dur­ing Easter, and I’m sure if you went up this week, you wouldn’t think we were there,” he said.

Wood said the town has to try and ap­peal to the com­mu­nity with re­gards to the dump­ing of bulk garbage and lit­ter in gen­eral.

“We want them to take pride in their com­mu­nity and con­stantly be vig­i­lant,” he said.

In an ef­fort to pin­point those who dump il­le­gally, the Spa­niard’s Bay coun­cil passed a mo­tion to ap­prove the pur­chase of four sur­veil­lance cam­eras. It was agreed that one of those cam­eras will be placed in a “choice lo­ca­tion” along Muddy Hole Road.

In an ear­lier mea­sure to stamp out the prob­lem, the town ap­proved the award­ing of a $500 re­ward for any­one who can pro­vide in­for­ma­tion that leads to the ar­rest and con­vic­tion of an il­le­gal dumper.

So far, this award has not been claimed, and Drover ac­knowl­edged it’s very dif­fi­cult to get a con­vic­tion. Even when garbage can be traced to an in­di­vid­ual, it’s not al­ways enough to lay charges, since the ac­cused can claim that some­one stole the garbage.

“This is a big­ger prob­lem than any small com­mu­nity can en­force,” he said.

Sug­ges­tions that the town clean up the mess were quickly dis­missed, with Spa­niard’s Bay town man­ager Tony Ryan stat­ing: “We’d have to do some tax hike here to clean up all the mess that’s out there.”

He also sug­gested that a cleanup may be in in­ef­fec­tive, since the dump­ing would only con­tinue, ne­ces­si­tat­ing fur­ther cleanups.

Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Kevin O’brien, dur­ing a meet­ing of the House of Assem­bly man­age­ment com­mis­sion last week, sug­gested there is a “cul­ture” of in­dis­crim­i­nate dump­ing that goes back many years. As for en­force­ment, he said it would take hav­ing some­one be­hind ev­ery tree to com­pletely stamp out the prob­lem.

ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

Tires and trash are be­ing dumped in the ar­eas around Con­cep­tion Bay. This gravel pit in Muddy Hole Road has seen more than two dozen tires, dry­wall and house­hold trash dumped this spring.

Trav­el­ling over Muddy Hole Road be­comes more dif­fi­cult the far­ther you go in as pieces of glass, car­pet and old com­puter tow­ers lit­ter the road.

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