Il­le­gal dump­ing tough to tackle

Car­bon­ear MEO finds some suc­cess us­ing cam­eras to catch cul­prits

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TC ME­DIA

Car­bon­ear mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer Gord Par­sons is dis­mayed ev­ery time he comes across garbage left in the woods.

It’s an is­sue he’s looked to ad­dress ever since com­ing on board with the town in 2011.

At the time, there were sev­eral spots where dump­ing proved to be a prob­lem — Fox Farm Road, Lower South­side Road and Line Road were among a num­ber of ar­eas cited.

“Not be­ing able to be ev­ery­where, I sug­gested cam­eras, trail cam­eras, to be able to as­sist with it,” Par­sons told The Com­pass as he shared some of the scenes he’s doc­u­mented over the years.

Cam­eras were pur­chased and in­stalled in 2012, with Par­sons pe­ri­od­i­cally moving them as needed.

Un­for­tu­nately, cam­eras can’t be ev­ery­where, so Par­sons is also heav­ily re­liant on tips from res­i­dents.

“There’s more peo­ple catch­ing on and call­ing me as well,” he said, adding this some­times leads to catch­ing peo­ple be­fore they dump ma­te­ri­als.

Last month, an area at the in­ter­sec­tion of Fox Farm Road and the Con­cep­tion Bay High­way was brought to his at­ten­tion. Strewn all over the ground op­po­site the Cana­dian Tire were cof­fee cups and other bits of garbage scat­tered about.

“This young fella who called said, ‘I think it’s the guys on the ATVs.’ They buy their cof­fee, come over here, has their smoke, drinks their cof­fee, and then goes in up Fox Farm Road or wher­ever.”

Col­lect­ing ev­i­dence

There have been mul­ti­ple in­stances where the MEO, who is a re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer, col­lected enough ev­i­dence to go to po­lice to lay a charge un­der the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Act.

One of his cam­eras once caught a truck with a sofa driv­ing in one di­rec­tion along the dirt road that con­nects Fox Farm Road to Ban­ner­man Lake Road. When it ap­peared again trav­el­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, the sofa was gone.

He took the ev­i­dence to RCMP, who later charged a sus­pect un­der the Act.

The charge was later with- drawn and re­duced to a lit­ter­ing of­fence, re­sult­ing in a small fine of $100. The ini­tial charged could have car­ried with it a fine as high as $10,000.

Other times, Par­sons elected to give warn­ings.

Once while he was parked on Fox Farm Road, a truck passed, and Par­sons felt the driver gave has him a sus­pi­cious look. He no­ticed there was a lot of used wood in the back.

Par­sons waited for a bit be­fore he drove fur­ther up the road to found the driver stand­ing out­side his truck. The man told Par­sons he was out for a pee break. When Par­sons asked what he was do­ing with the wood, the man said he was just out for a drive. Pressed fur­ther, the man ad­mit­ted he planned to dump the ma­te­ri­als in the woods.

Par­sons took some pho­tos, copied his li­cense plate num­ber and ad­vised him to ei­ther drop off the ma­te­ri­als at the Eastern Waste site in Har­bour Grace or, given it was all wood, burn it.

“I said, ‘If I find this any­where, I’m com­ing for you.’”

Ed­u­ca­tion im­por­tant

Once he came across garbage and man­aged to fig­ure out di­rectly where it came from. It turned out some­one paid to clean out an apart­ment de­cided to dump the garbage in the woods in­stead of tak­ing it to the waste fa­cil­ity in Har­bour Grace as promised.

Par­sons couldn’t prove what hap­pened, though the per­son who owned the garbage man­aged to pay some­one else to move it.

Signs are posted in ar­eas where re­peat in­ci­dents have been iden­ti­fied. Par­sons reck­ons there’s also an ed­u­ca­tional as­pect when it comes to elim­i­nat­ing this sort of be­hav­iour.

“I know that (my sons) have al­ways had a bag in their ve­hi­cle to put their garbage when they were beat­ing around the streets. When you’d check their pock­ets be­fore wash­ing their clothes, you’d be li­able to find a chip bag or bar wrap­pers in their pock­ets. They’ve never (tossed garbage), and they’ve never seen me do it.”

I know that (my sons) have al­ways had a bag in their ve­hi­cle to put their garbage when they were beat­ing around the streets. When you’d check their pock­ets be­fore wash­ing their clothes, you’d be li­able to find a chip bag or bar wrap­pers in their pock­ets. — Gord Par­sons

SUB­MIT­TED PHO­TOS

A grow­ing pile of cof­fee cups and other garbage lit­tered the ground in this photo taken Dec. 4, 2016 op­po­site the Cana­dian Tire on Fox Farm Road in Car­bon­ear.

Garbage found on Fox Farm Road in April of 2013 in­cluded chil­dren’s’ toys and books, fur­ni­ture and elec­tron­ics.

This garbage was spot­ted on Fox Farm Road in Car­bon­ear in June of 2015.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Car­bon­ear mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer Gord Par­sons.

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