There’s no better way to kill the mood for outdoor fun than coming across a pile of junk dumped amid the wild landscape.
But outside of municipal boundaries, at this point, there’s virtually no recourse for illegal dumping.
Rapping on offenders is the only option.
And that’s the action encouraged by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), the service overseer of local back country and rural electoral areas.
“We have no legal authority to do anything about it,” says Alan Stanley, RDKB’s general manager of environmental services. “We don’t have a program, resources or the staff.”
Dealing with the offence varies according to respective municipal bylaws, but anyone caught outside town limits is in violation of the Environmental Management Act.
“We are in somewhat of a tough position, we don’t have any authority for enforcement,” Stanley said. “The real key is to get people to report it to the RAPP line so it is recorded. If hot spots continue to be reported, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) has told us that’s how they can start setting priorities.”
RAPP (Report all Poachers and Polluters) is a provincial hotline used to report wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at risk. Available 24/7 RAPP is toll free tip line (1-877-952-7277) and online service that allows the caller to remain anonymous when reporting known or suspected violations of fisheries, wildlife and environmental protection.
“Do not confront the person,” Stanley advises. “Take the information down and call the RAPP line so they have the area on their radar and are at least, aware of it.”
While he encourages reporting, Stanley warns provincial resources are somewhat limited, considering the vastness of the region compared with the number of conservation officers.
“We have to filter in the other things they are doing with wildlife, hunting, fishing and all the rest of their duties – it becomes fairly obvious they are going to have trouble getting to all these things,” he reiterated. “But again, it’s a really good idea to keep reporting the incidents so they can be recorded.”
Catching offenders red-handed is ideal, though very unlikely.
At the end of the day, Stanley says the more realistic solution is community-driven.
“We are working toward some ideas of how to better communicate between the different agencies (such as) the issues around dumping in Casino,” he added. “But in the grand scheme of things we still come back to the idea that the community has to decide that as a community, they are not going to tolerate it.”
The RDKB board is interested in discussing what can and can’t be done regionally following a review by its environmental committee, he continued.
“We bought a number of trail cameras (for) across the district and out in the Boundary as well,” Stanley said. “But then what can we do with the pictures we get?” he questioned. “Do we publicize and ask, ‘Do you know this person?”
With limited action from authorities who can actually enforce the Environmental Management Act, Stanley suggests better dialogue between the regional district and the COS is a good starting point.
Last week city workers spotted a truck driving along Casino Road with a full load and coming out empty near a site known for illegal dumping.
The licence plate number and truck description were recorded and passed along to the police.
The person was contacted by the RCMP reports the city, denied being the offender, and no further action can be taken.
Frustrating yes, but in comparison to the tonnes of garbage that actually pass through the McKelvey Creek landfill daily, those dumps are relatively small, Stanley maintains.
“It’s the kind of stuff that probably got dumped on the 30th or the first of the month,” said Stanley, mentioning he has walked through the area. “People that are doing this are usually on the fringes, with a few exceptions, just trying to get rid of things.”