Cracking down on illegal dumping

Derek Montague
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Happy Valley-Goose Bay to use surveillance cameras to catch wrongdoers

Old furniture rests atop the snow at the end of Transmitter Road, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This is one of many places where people have been dumping their garbage illegally over the years.

It’s not uncommon in certain areas of Happy Valley-Goose Bay to see garbage lying around where there shouldn’t be any.

Sometime just prior to March 7, a person, or persons, drove to the end of Transmitter Road and dumped a random assortment of junk out in the open. There was furniture, a purse, two pizza boxes, a hand clock, a 50s greatest hits CD, and more.

Illegal dumping is a well-known issue in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and now the town council will be stepping up enforcement efforts.

According to Coun. Tanya Michelin, who chairs the enforcement committee, the new budget contains $13,000 for security cameras. Those cameras will be placed in some of the most frequently used illegal dumping sites around town.

“We will be setting up cameras at certain dumpsites, that are not classified as appropriate dumpsites for the town and we will be monitoring the areas carefully,” said Michelin.

“There will be some along the river bank (near Hamilton River Road), which is where we are looking at redeeming the area and setting up a new walking trail through the Birch Island area.”

The council knows where people are dumping their junk illegally, thanks to the work of Healthy Waters Labrador, an organization that has done extensive work in locating these sites.

“We feel that illegal dumping is an epidemic around town,” said Marina Biasutti-Brown of Healthy Waters Labrador. “It’s is a serious situation that needs to be addressed, because it’s continuous and the volume doesn’t seem to be decreasing.”

“There have been various attempts to get the word out about it. Our group, in the past, has done various initiatives around it, thinking that public awareness would help a bit, but it doesn’t seem to be changing.”

Last summer, Health Waters Labrador, along with members of the Green Team, located an astounding 60 dumpsites in the upper Lake Melville area. The group marked the sites with GPS co-ordinates and handed the information to the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

“Roads like Transmitter Road, roads that lead to nowhere … anywhere where they can get off the road in a pickup truck is where we’re finding the ideal dumping spots,” said Biasutti-Brown.

“Some of them would have just one dump of garbage, others had other multiple (dumps).”

It is perplexing to try and figure out why certain people don’t use the municipal dump, and would rather find there own sites to place their junk. Michelin believes that some people do it out of sheer laziness.

“This is just a personal opinion. I think that people just don’t want to take the time to drive down to the municipal dump. Like, why else would you be taking your garbage and dumping it in areas that are not approved municipal dump sites?” said Michelin.

“I know that it’s out of the way for a lot of people maybe, but if you can’t afford to take your dump to an appropriate place, the least they can be doing is finding someone to help them get their dump to an appropriate area.”

Michelin also said that the town is committed to fining anyone who is caught, by camera or otherwise, dumping their garbage illegally.

In Happy Valley-Goose Bay, a first offense for littering can fetch a fine between $100-$500. A person caught a second time may receive a fine between $500-$1000.

On top of getting surveillance cameras, Michelin said the town is conversing with a lawyer, to find other ways to crack down on dumping.

“We want to look at being innovative and creating new ways of dealing with the issues because obviously … what has been done is not working,” said Michelin.

“They will be fined if they are caught dumping. So I’m hoping that this will help curb so of that activity.”

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Goose Bay, Transmitter Road Near Hamilton River Road Birch Island Lake Melville

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Recent comments

  • Gloria
    March 12, 2014 - 18:02

    Illegal dumping happens everywhere simply because people are too lazy to "go the extra mile". So sad and disgusting.

  • jerome delaney
    March 12, 2014 - 16:41

    Simple solution, have the dumps open longer, maybe into the evening and thru the weekends. People tend to be lazy so make it easy for everyone to get rid of unwanted waste.