The board for Comox Strathcona Waste Management would like to see the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (M0TI) resume handling trash bin disposal in beach access areas.
In general, the members at the board meeting Thursday morning did not want to see CSWM take on the responsibility themselves. There seemed to be consensus over the littering that was resulting despite the practice of encouraging the public to “pack it in and pack it out” when they leave areas.
“We want to encourage residents to take their waste home,” said CSWM senior manager Vivian Schau.
The issue really revolves around provincial sites. As Schau said, the province is focused on pick-ups from sites with cooking and washrooms facilities rather than beach sites with no facilities. As the CSWM staff report states, beach access typically falls under MoTI for roads providing main access, and any land below the high tide line is provincial jurisdiction.
The board had considered the idea of placing receptacles at popular beach locations in the CSWM region at a meeting in June. However, the staff recommendation before the board was that CSWM not place the bins at these sites. For Crown land area, the report notes, the regional districts would need a licence for occupation or access.
What followed at this month’s meeting was a lengthy discussion on how to bring the matter to the province’s attention. Many directors talked about the amount of garbage that was being left behind, whether it was dumped by residents, visitors or both, and methods some residents are using to clean areas.
Many supported not having the regions take on the responsibility, but advocate the senior level of government for service. The board then passed a motion not to place the waste bins at beach locations.
Another issue that came up was a suggested motion to have the board chair write MoTI asking for bin service to be restored. Edwin Grieve, who represents the Comox Strathcona Regional District’s Area C on the CSWM board, also asked that staff put together a resolution for an Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities meeting next spring about the beach clean-up issue.
“I’m sure it would resonate up and down the island and in the coastal communities,” he said, adding the resolution would need to be submitted by the end of January.
However, chief administrative officer Russell Dyson suggested the board could defer the matter until the next board meeting in November to look more at how they can handle the issue. The motion to defer to November’s meeting passed.