He was on one of the back roads down by the main dock, a dead end road, and saw a loader coming in with a load of lattice work, the kind that goes in around peoples decks and a
“I said to myself ‘why is he going in there?’” Phillips said. “So I came back a few hours later and followed the tracks about 120 metres and the stuff was dumped in the woods there.”
Phillips said he recognized the driver of the truck and the next day he called the Department of Environment and told them he wanted charges laid.
“I was prepared to make a lot of noise, one way or another,” he said. “What motivates me is the amount of garbage in the back roads and paths around the Upper Lake Melville area is just astounding. There is a lot of people doing this. This particular person is no different than what must be hundreds of others around here.”
Phillips said he feels that the public needs to see that there can be repercussions for these type of actions and that something can be done about it. After contacting the Department of Environment Phillips said he was told since the Act was proclaimed in 2002 this is the first conviction in the Upper Lake Melville area.
After the court case was set over a few times Val Gaulton of Happy Valley- Goose Bay was convicted under the Environmental Protection Act on June 29 by Judge Phyllis Harris. The charge can carry a maximum penalty for a first conviction of a fine between $500 and $10,000 or a term of imprisonment up to 3 months, or to both a fine and imprisonment. He was given a fine of $575 and is required to remediate the area, which means pick up the garbage.
Phillips said part of the issue with the Act is that it only gives RCMP and municipal police the authority to ticket people for littering.
“They have so much going on with other crime that it would be a lot easier if fishery officers and conservation officers could issue the tickets too,” he said. “Right now all they can do is advise people to pick it up and call the police. If you see someone throw a soda can out a window that isn’t really going to be worth calling the police and going through the whole court process. If littering tickets could be issued that would make a lot more sense.”
Phillips said he has a meeting with Environment Minister Perry Trimper on July 8 to discuss the ticketing option and he’s hopeful it will move forward.
“It’s a shame seeing all the garbage around here,” he said. “You ask anyone in Newfoundland and Labrador if they love the environment and the woods and they’d probably say yes. But those same people are chucking garbage out their windows.”