The Conservation Officer Service in Vanderhoof is looking for help from the public in tracking down those responsible for depositing large amounts of garbage and waste materials in rural areas near Vanderhoof.
Cam Hill, Conservation Officer, has been trying to keep people from dumping at two different sites. One is just off Barlow Forest Service Road at 2.5 kilometres in.
In early October, Hill found what appeared to be construction material, shop supplies for heavy duty equipment and various other items dumped on the ground.
The other problematic site is in Mapes Pit just off Blackwater Road. A freezer full of meat and a large hot tub were found along with a large pile of tires which were later set on fire releasing contaminants into the air.
When asked if he thought there were other dumping sites out there that nobody has checked, Hill said “Oh there’s lots of them.”
These dumping sites are serious problems because they can create garbage habituated bears who will then seek out more garbage and potentially cause an incident with humans. Another danger is the pollutants that can be found in some of the sites. In Barlow, Hill said that he found oil filters and cans of used motor oil and those kinds of pollutants that take a long time to naturally decompose and break up.
“In 2010 and 2011 we made an absolutely huge dent and my thought was if somebody doesn’t start the cleaning process it’s never going to happen,” said Hill. “Once we got the ball rolling there was an awful lot of interest in cleaning up these areas. That’s what makes it sad, you get all these volunteers that volunteer their free time to clean up other people’s messes and then there’s individuals that go out there and continue to throw their garbage in the bush.”
In 2010 and 2011 Conservation Officer Hill and Natural Resource Officers with the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations coordinated the volunteer cleanup of over 40 illegal dump sites in the Vanderhoof area. The equivalent of more than 70 pickup loads of garbage was removed from rural areas.
Fines for littering and other pollution related offences under the Environmental Management Act can range from a simple $250 violation ticket to court imposed fines of up $1,000,000 depending on the type and amount of material deposited.
Residents of the Nechako Valley are very fortunate to currently have access to the regional district transfer station and landfill facilities with no tipping fees for general waste disposal.
One individual near Striegler Pit was charged $250 for dumping by Hill, but he agreed to go off and clean it up which is his ultimate goal.
“It seems like every weekend a new pile of garbage shows up,” he said.
Although Hill does have some leads into who may be responsible for the Barlow mess he is seeking the public’s help and asking for any information which may lead to the successful prosecution of those responsible.
Anyone with information on these or other fish, wildlife or environmental crimes may contact the Conservation Officer Service Call Center at 1-877-952-7277.