Coinciding with Earth Week, the Comox Strathcona Waste Management service’s Illegal Dumping Program (IDP) is entering its second year.
According to the Comox Valley Regional District, the IDP has removed over 70,000 kilograms of waste from 120 illegal dump sites since launching on April 24, 2017.
More than 600 illegal dump sites have been reported in the Comox Valley and Strathcona Regional Districts’ service areas since 2012.
CVRD bylaw compliance officer Michael Dinesen is the co-ordinator for the IDP. He said the program has been a success and will continue into its second year with a renewed educational focus on Campbell River and surrounding areas.
“The message is out there and we have a lot of online chatter,” he said. “It’s been successful from an educational approach and now we’re focusing on moving more north into the Strathcona Regional District areas and getting the message out there.”
Community groups involved with the IDP include Stop Comox Valley Illegal Dumping, the Comox Valley and Campbell River ATV clubs, Millard Creek Stream clean-up, Courtenay Fish and Game, B&D Containers, Pacific Woodwaste, and the K’ómoks First Nation.
Program volunteer Jamie Barth said education and awareness will continue to be important components of the IDP.
“Moving forward it is my hope that we see less dumping activities and the public continues to feel more comfortable with reporting such activities,” he said.
According to Dinesen, most illegal dump sites are found in rural areas.
He said the most common items found in illegal dump sites include household garbage, construction materials, yard waste, and household appliances.
“You’ll find tires, you’ll find wood waste, you’ll find construction site stuff. Maybe fishing gear. A lot of it is stuff you could take to landfill for free, is what we’re finding,” he said.
Dinesen believes the motive for illegal dump sites is either laziness or people not wanting to pay potential tipping fees at the Comox Valley or Campbell River landfills.
“We find generally it’s laziness on the part of the people we’ve been catching,” he said.
The fine for dumping garbage illegally in the Comox Valley or Strathcona Regional Districts is $500, according to a bylaw implemented last year.
To report an illegal dump site, call 1-800-331-6007