Illegal garbage-dumping in Chilliwack just got more expensive

Garbage left behind in Chilliwack’s natural areas is hazardous to people and wildlife

Fines are going up to cut down on illegal garbage-dumping and pallet-burning in Chilliwack.

City council decided to increase existing bylaw enforcement fines from $200 to $500 per offence in order to reduce the amount of trash dumped in Chilliwack.

“Chilliwack is a beautiful place to live, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep it clean and green,” said Mayor Popove. “Not only is tossing your garbage out of the car window or driving your furniture into the woods disrespectful to your neighbours, it’s also harmful to our natural environment.”

About 15 fines for illegal dumping were issued by City of Chilliwack in the past five years. Of those, only one was not ultimately paid. That information was offered after Coun. Bud Mercer asked how many of the fines had actually been paid.

But enforcement can hinge on catching someone in the act, or obtaining irrefutable evidence.

“Illegal dumping and the burning of pallets have been identified by City Council as a significant concern for the community,” according to the staff report. As a result city staff from the Engineering, Bylaw, Operations and Communications Departments have been hammering out an illegal dumping strategy.

Coun. Chris Kloot said it might require more bylaw enforcement officers being hired.

Additional fines of up to $2,000 may be levied under the Offence Act, if the long-form method is used, and offenders may also be charged the cleanup costs associated with the illegally dumped materials.

Coun. Jason Lum wanted to know if an option like rewarding those who report garbage-dumping with a portion of the fine revenue had been explored, and the answer was it had not.

Coun. Jeff Shields asked if staff could look into the reward option.

“Illegal dumping is unsightly, costly, and dangerous,” according to the staff report. “Garbage left behind in our natural areas is hazardous to people and negatively impacts wildlife.”

If garbage is dumped illegal on City of Chilliwack property, the details should be reported to bylaw enforcement at 604-793-2908.

“The more details provided and the sooner they are conveyed, the more likely action can be taken,” according to the city info. “Some sites may be cordoned off and investigated before cleaning up the dumped materials.”

Most illegal dumping however occurs on Crown land, such as on riverbanks, gravel bars, forest service roads and more. If illegal dumping occurs on Crown land, citizens can contact:

1. Natural Resource Officers:

•Litter/items from camps on Crown land for more than two weeks

•Cutting of trees for structures or fuel without a permit

Contact: 1.877.952.7277 or #7277 (option 2) or gov.bc.ca/NRV

2. Conservation Officer Service:

•Illegal dumping (not related to camps)

•Pollution

•Poaching

•Degradation of fish habitat

•Damage from off-road vehicle use

Contact: 1.877.952.7277 or #7277 (option 1) or forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/

3. BC Wildfire Service:

•Situations that pose an imminent fire risk (ex. smoke columns, fires, and Wildfire Regulation violations)

Contact: 1.800.663.5555 or *5555

4. Fisheries and Oceans Canada:

•Permanent alteration or destruction to fish habitat including fish kills

•Fish nets left or caught in rivers

Contact: 604.607.4186 and 1.877.952.7277 or #7277 (option 1)

5. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI):

•Litter/items along highways

•Litter/items from camps under Provincial highway overpasses, bridges, culverts, etc.

Contact: Emil Anderson Maintenance Co. 1.800.667.5122 or MOTI 604.527.2221

See more at chilliwack.com/stopdumping.

READ MORE: Stakeholders unite to tackle dumping

READ MORE: Chilliwack man charged for dumping in wildlife area


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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