Illegal dumping continues near City of Trail water tower

Illegal dumping continues near City of Trail water tower

Illegal dumping continues in Sunningdale’s upper bench

Larry Abenante, Trail's public works manager says more illegal dumping in the upper Sunningdale bench.

UPDATED MAY 8

***********************************************************************************

 

Word from Larry Abenante, Trail’s public works manager, is that another area above Sunningdale is being used as an illegal dumping ground.

Last month, the Trail Times highlighted the disgraceful condition of wild lands in the upper bench, following the masses of household garbage being steathily dumped at various sites.

On several occasions the city was able to extrapolate information from the debris, leading to names of the alleged perpetrators.

“When confronting the people there is always a reason that it was not them,” said Abenante. “One we always seem to get is that they hired someone to do this cleanup and they assume that it is going to the landfill.”

In late April, Trail public works installed a security camera at an undisclosed dump site in hopes of catching vehicles heading in to unload refuse.

While the digital eye didn’t catch the latest dump, Abenante said the camera will be moved to other areas as part of the city’s ongoing efforts to curb the illegal action.

He maintains the best way to combat the issue is education and community pride – respect for the city, its citizens and our environment.

“Eventually this garbage and debris makes its way into catch basins and then into the Columbia River,” he said. “What we need is more eyes watching.”

The city owns the road that leads to the Sunningdale water tower and controls the gate,which is locked from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day.

The undeveloped lands surrounding the water tower are popular terrain for hikers and bikers, and lead to the Trans Canada Trail connection between the city and Castlegar.

The properties are owned by Teck and the regional district as well as individual landowners.

***************************************************************************************

ORIGINAL STORY APRIL 1

“Illegal dumping comes with cost to taxpayers and environment”

 

“Who are you? And why do you think it’s okay to dump garbage on someone else’s land?” asks a Sunningdale grandmother.

We all have a responsibility to protect our environment for future generations, says Heidi McLachlan, a longtime Trail resident who called the Trail Times after seeing the shameful messes dumped near the Sunningdale water tower.

She and husband Bob McLachlan returned to Trail after a holiday south of the border, only to find garbage-strewn trails beyond the gateway and piles of discarded bags full of dog feces left at the road entrance.

The couple, along with daughter-in-law Krista Ferraby, begin each day by walking their dogs on the numerous dirt pathways in the rural Sunningdale benches.

“We usually pick up garbage on the way,” said Heidi. “But when we got back and saw what was up there now, I am appalled. Something has to be done, we are getting tired of cleaning up other people’s garbage.”

After working in Trail’s public works for 20 years, Larry Abenante says illegal dumping is an ongoing issue that directly impacts all city taxpayers.

He said last year his crews hauled four metric tonnes of illegally dumped materials, which quantifies to nearly 9,000 pounds of garbage, to the regional landfill for proper disposal.

“People think they are saving money by illegally dumping in secluded areas,” explained Abenante. “Not realizing that tax dollars need to be spent to clean up the illegally dumped garbage.”

A morning stroll through the Sunningdale water tower area, reveals everything from tires, car parts, household waste, old appliances, and bag upon bag spilling contents of garden waste mixed with other mostly plastic contaminants.

“That’s a health hazard,” said Krista, pointing to a gulley full of used diapers extruding from a large black bag. “Who knows what kind of diseases can be spread when something like that is left in the open.”

Further down the pathway, Heidi pointed down a bank, showing the spot where a very large bag filled with smaller bags of dog feces was thrown.

“What’s the point in that,” she said. “You’re just adding to the problem doing something like that.”

On everyone’s mind is, how can dumping in the area’s natural environment be stopped?

In Sunningdale’s high bench, the matter is complex because while the city owns the road leading to the water tower and controls the gate, affected properties are privately owned by individuals, Teck and the regional district.

“I wouldn’t mind if they would lock the gates so no one but the city and property owners could drive up there,” said Heidi.

“And I think they should be using security cameras to watch who goes up with a full load and comes back empty.”

Controlling vehicle access to the various sites isn’t so simple, says Abenante, adding the gates were originally installed as a safety feature when fewer people used the area for recreation.

“They are promoting trails (Trans Canada Trail) and there is a new house being built up there this year,” he explained. “So the guy building doesn’t want gates at all. And there’s trucks (permitted) going up and down at least half a dozen times a day so locking the gates could become a big hassle.”

Installing surveillance would be a capital investment if the city went that route, Abenante added, estimating security device costs would exceed $5,000.

“To get a proper camera we’d need to also set up power to the site,” he said. “And we’d need to install more than one.”

The only way to stop the problem is to have more people ratting on each other, he continued. “If more houses are built up there maybe in time it will get better. And we need more people watching, because it’s everyone’s job to keep an eye out.”

Abenante mentioned the increasing problem the city faces with its bear bins, which are scattered throughout neighbourhoods.

The containers were installed to prevent bruins and other wildlife from seeking garbage, but two-legged mammals are benefitting another way.

“Even today I went around Gyro on my way to work and the bear bins are loaded to the hilt,” explained Abenante, noting the receptacles were stuffed primarily with household waste. “There was up to six big garbage bags left all around the bins so dogs or raccoons can get in. It goes on and on, which is why I was never in favour of the bins in the first place because people dump garbage there.”

Another ongoing matter around Trail is littering, which is considered a form of illegal dumping. Refuse has become such a bane in downtown Trail that city crews need to sweep the streets weekly to gather debris like cigarette butts, food wrappers and coffee cups.

The biggest dumping problem however, is the unlawful disposal of recyclable materials like garden waste.

Grass clippings, branches, compost and other organics, often mixed with non-recyclable debris, can be found scattered down most banks throughout the city including the Sunningdale area.

“Just to be clear, it is illegal to dump garden waste,” said Abenante. “We’d like to remind everyone that scheduled spring and fall clean-ups allow for citizens to dispose of this properly.”

For the bigger jobs, city resources don’t allow the time for illegal dump pick ups, Abenante added. “Therefore contractors are hired to clean up and take the debris to the landfill. Some weeks no clean up is required, whereas some weeks we will call contractors one or two times.”

According to Abenante, the best way to combat the issue is education and community pride – respect for the city, its citizens and our environment.

“Eventually this garbage and debris makes its way into catch basins and then into the Columbia River,” he said. “What we need is more eyes watching.”

Just Posted

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

A B.C. police officer shows an approved roadside screening device. Photo: Saanich News file
Woman caught passed out behind the wheel in Trail

Police located the 38-year old in her parked but still running car, and had to rouse her awake.

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar
Mercer Celgar to install new technology thanks to $4.5 million in federal funds

Project features process to improve fibre processing and address regional fibre availability issues

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read