Harold Macy has seen it all: mattresses, couches, grow-op detritus and even a dead horse.
The latest illegally dumped item on his Headquarters Creek woodlot near the base of Mount Washington is a derelict camper.
“This has been going on for more than 20 years … we have two public roads going through the woodlot. It’s very infuriating to deal with,” he explained.
Despite a sign on his woodlot which specifies people to take their garbage to the dump along with a second sign about 100 metres down the road from the Comox Valley Regional District with a similar message, Macy said the problem continues.
In terms of preventative measures, he has gates on his property – which were stolen approximately two years ago when, he explained, the price of steel was high.
It cost him roughly $1,800 to replace the gates.
“Do I think if it was free to (drop off materials) at the dump it wouldn’t happen? No – it’s not the cost, it’s that people are lazy.”
Macy contacted Emcon Services, which agreed to remove the camper; Emcon is working with the regional district to waive the dump fee.
Michael Dinesen, bylaw officer and illegal dumping co-ordinator for the CVRD, said he is working on tracing the owner of the camper. He noted many bylaw officers are retired police officers and use their skills from police investigations to find clues to trace back dumped materials to their owners.
He said he works with landowners and volunteer clean-up groups and encourages anyone who finds illegally dumped material on their property to call the regional district to open a file.
“We do know where the ‘hot spots’ are, and we do put up signs that indicate items were dumped illegally. The photos get online and people start talking about it.”
While Dinesen said there’s always going to be a certain amount of people who will participate in illegal dumping, he encourages landowners to be proactive, and limit or block access roads which are not being used.
Last spring, the Comox Strathcona Waste Management launched a new program aimed at preventing illegal dumping across the region.
It noted there are more than 500 illegal dump sites documented since 2012.
In addition to a public education and awareness campaign, there is a new illegal dumping bylaw to ensure there is consistent enforcement across the CSWM service area.
To report an illegal dump or someone improperly disposing of materials, call 1-800-331-6007.