Illegal dumping reports in the region dropped slightly in 2020. File photo

Illegal dumping reports in the region dropped slightly in 2020. File photo

Comox-Strathcona regions find less illegal dumping in 2020

More than half of sites have items that could be disposed of for free or recycled

The region’s program to prevent illegal dumping seems to be working. Still, many people are throwing items that could be disposed of freely.

These were a couple of the main points that bylaw officer Mike Dinesen brought to the attention of the Comox Strathcona Waste Management board at their latest meeting on March 11.

“We’ve had a slight decrease in the number of reports,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Comox-Strathcona’s illegal dumping program showing progress

According to the staff report to the board, there were 92 reports of dumping sites across the region versus 94 in 2019 and 105 in 2018. In terms of the amount, 23.2 tonnes of waste was collected, resulting in waived tipping fees of $3,027, compared with 28.9 tonnes and just over $3,687 in tipping fees during 2019.

There was some concern that with more people doing work around their homes in 2020, especially during pandemic lockdown time, that the Comox and Strathcona regional districts could see an upswing in the problem of illegal waste disposal. Community clean-ups were also cancelled, though many residents did their own.

“We did not see any significant spike during COVID,” Dinesen said.

The tickets and the warning letters appear to be getting their message across to those who are caught dumping, while the webpage for people to make complaints also seems to be working.

“We have not seen any repeat offenders,” Dinesen said, adding staff also monitor discussions on social media.

If there is a downside, it is that many offenders are still throwing out items that could be disposed of legally for free or recycled, with more than half the dumpsites containing such items.

CSWM started the reporting program in 2017, and as Dinesen said, it relies on the efforts of volunteers in the communities.

“They pretty much assist us with every site,” he said.

One of the Strathcona board members, Noba Anderson, was concerned about what happened at the sites that have been found. Dinesen said these are each cleaned up.

“I think we have one of the more proactive programs out there,” he added.

Another question from Will-Cole Hamilton, a Courtenay representative, was whether there had been any variation to the numbers of reported dumping incidents through 2020, perhaps as a result of the board’s decision to close a couple of unstaffed recycling depots, one in Campbell River and one north of Courtenay. Dinesen responded that the numbers were consistent throughout the year, even after the closures in mid-2020.

RELATED STORY: Recycling depots in Courtenay, Campbell River to close

Edwin Grieve, a Comox Valley director, wondered whether there were data comparing the Comox-Strathcona regions to others around the province. Dinesen said they did not have numbers but added that some places are pushing for a provide-wide response to the problem of dumping.

Strathcona board member Brenda Leigh asked about how the program worked compared with the province’s Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline, which can levy much larger fines than those imposed by the region. Dinesen said that while the region partners with RAPP and shares its information with the province, it does in turn get data from the province for a comparison.

Leigh responded by asking staff to consider looking at imposing larger fines on offenders.

“I think it would be a deterrent,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

waste disposal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Most categories of crime held steady from year to year in Cumberland. File photo
Cumberland crime numbers hold steady year to year

A few categories had notable changes but many were similar to 2019

The colourful Taylor’s Checkerspot butterfly has been reintroduced on Hornby Island, BC. Photo courtesy the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project.
Checkerspot Butterfly Recovery Project releases more caterpillars on Hornby Island

Chris Junck Special to Black Press The number of Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies… Continue reading

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
The Baynes Sound Connector leaves Denman Island en route to Buckley Bay. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Baynes Sound Connector undergoing upgrades

The MV Quinitsa is providing service between Buckley Bay and Denman Island

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The Nanaimo Clippers’ game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs slated for Thursday, April 15, has been postponed due to a “potential positive COVID-19 test result,” says the BCHL. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers COVID-19 test negative, team can practise and play

Junior A hockey team had suspended activities the day before out of ‘abundance of caution’

For the fourth consecutive Friday afternoon, citizens gathered March 26 in Courtenay to bring attention to the issue of old-growth logging practices in B.C. File photo
Comox Valley Regional District to raise concerns about old-growth logging

The Comox Valley Regional District board received a resolution from Area B… Continue reading

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

Most Read