Scavenging at the landfill has been an issue for some time and the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is cracking down on it.
Deputy Mayor Bert Pomeroy told the Labradorian the main concern is safety.
“It’s a serious problem; we don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said. “It’s for the protection of the public and the town; it’s a safety issue.”
Pomeroy referenced a situation at the landfill in 2016 when a six-year-old girl was hurt by a piece of heavy equipment.
“Fortunately she survived but it was very scary situation and a very hard time for everybody involved,” he said. “Including the operators at the dump, those who witnessed it and those who worked there. It was very hard and we certainly don’t want to see something like that happen again.”
He said in order to ensure and maintain safety and operation of the landfill, the Town is going to start cracking down on those who scavenge at the dump in a few ways.
They are planning to develop regulations around it, he said, so they can fine violators. That is a process that can take some time, though, so in the meantime the Town will have the community constables step up enforcement efforts, which may include restricting access to the landfill from those who are continually scavenging.
“There’s is no fine right now but there is the option to prosecute,” Pomeroy said. “It is town property and if you’re in there doing anything other than offloading garbage then you shouldn’t be there. You’re basically trespassing.”
He said if people are there scavenging they will be asked to leave and if there's a problem, enforcement officers will be called.
The town is also looking at restricting residential customers access to the landfill by installing bins near the gate. They hope to have this up and running in the next month or so.
“That way they will not have access to most of the landfill site. We wouldn’t restrict contractors or others who need access to the commercial parts of the landfill. We intend to minimize the number of people that are accessing the site.”
As the weather has warmed up, more people are driving to the landfill to see the black bears. This is also a safety concern, Pomeroy said. People have been going inside the gate at the landfill after hours just to have a look at the bears.
“That’s not a safe thing to do and, again, it’s town property. If you’re at the landfill for no other reason than to look at bears then you shouldn’t be there. People are exposing themselves to a number of risks and our goal here is to protect the interests of everybody, including our staff and the general public.”