Sections of the Chilliwack River Valley are littered with burned-out vehicles, exploded propane tanks and piles of spent shells.
In order to stop “embarrassing” garbage like this, dumped so thoughtlessly, one FVRD official is working toward concrete solutions.
The recent UBCM conference in Victoria offered Orion Engar, FVRD Area E director, the perfect chance to broach the topic of illegal dumping with ministry reps.
Engar shared his view that it’s high time for “on the ground” action.
“The aggressive marketing of ‘Super Natural’ B.C. must also include more boots on the ground to reduce embarrassing garbage and provide a family-friendly outdoor experience,” Engar said.
Ministry staff told him they are considering freeing up “additional resources” as well as working with other agencies to develop a plan to generate more compliance and enforcement.
“I also have a commitment to be part of the development of that plan, so I can keep the Chilliwack River Valley’s illegal dumping, garbage, camping and safety issues at the forefront of this plan,” he said.
Chilliwack has seen dramatic spikes in vehicle and visitor traffic in recent years, and the CRV area, and the Forest Service Roads (FSRs) often takes the brunt of it.
“We have seen significantly more impacts on back country FSRs, burned vehicles, exploding propane tanks, target shooting with piles of shells and litter, and recently, a very serious wildfire in the area frequented by target-shooters,” Engar reported. “We are seeing some successes and improvement of garbage along the river, mainly due to very persistent volunteer work and the lower river valley now being made out of bounds to all overnight camping.”
European visitors are often shocked by the piles of garbage they see.
“This is an embarrassing situation for most British Columbians,” he noted.
“The Chilliwack River Valley has been called the most under pressure valley in the province!”
Engar reasoned that increased visitor pressure comes with a need for more frequent Conservation Officer presence on the ground, to better manage public safety issues.
There’s a clear need for more provincial resources to deal with garbage dumping on Crown land, more accessible amenities such as outhouses, along with some oversight of camping in the informal non-designated camping locations scattered throughout the valley, Engar said.
There is strong support coalescing for a multi-agency planning process, and provincial officials will be pulling this together with the local stakeholders, including FVRD, and more, he said.