Toilet, furnace dumped in watershed

Bonnie Belec
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Less than five feet from a no dumping sign in the watershed area of Windsor Lake sits a pile of garbage that includes an old toilet and a furnace that have obviously outlived their respective functions.

The culprits obviously can’t read or simply chose to ignore the instruction by the City of St. John’s.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with people,” said city Coun. Tom Hann, clearly irate over the illegal dumping.

“It is a restricted area. You’re not allowed to be doing anything in the watershed area. You don’t build. You don’t dump. You don’t do anything,” he said, standing next to the disgusting heap that also includes tires, scrap wood, broken toys, used condoms and men’s underwear.

The site was recently discovered by a resident out for a walk with his daughter on Autumn Drive off Airport Heights Drive.

There’s a bit of a gravel buffer between the road and the otherwise pristine woodland of the watershed area, but not enough to prevent someone with a truck from driving over it and dumping their garbage in a clearing.

Hann says he wants cameras installed to catch the offenders.

“We have to declare war on these people. Out and out war so we can catch them, bring them to court and let the heavy hand of the law come down on them,” he said.

Hann said as a result of this discovery, staff at the water treatment facility — just a few metres away — came upon another illegal dumpsite off Old Broad Cove Road on the other side of Windsor Lake.

At this site is an old mattress, electronics, wooden furniture and household garbage strewn about the trees and shrubs.

 “The most frustrating part of this is you know this is going on and you can’t catch people at it. I’ve been on this for years, and so have other members of council. We keep trying to catch these people and I’m hoping the cameras are going to be the solution,” Hann told reporters Wednesday.

He said two years ago he suggested surveillance be set up in known dumping areas, but it wasn’t done because of concerns about legal and privacy issues.

The city is now taking another look at the idea with the recent move by many municipalities across the province that are doing the same thing as they face the same issues given most town dumpsites have been shuttered by the province.

“I think what’s going to happen is staff are going to bring forth a proposal for the next council meeting to start installing cameras,” Hann said.

The Town of Conception Bay South was one of the first municipalities to adopt the practice and the mayor and enforcement officer say it’s working.

Mayor Woodrow French says the $10,000 spent on the equipment was a good investment.

“We were running into the same problems towns are running into now — finding remote areas where people were indiscriminately dumping garbage. We’d go in every spring and fall and clean it up,” he said.

“It certainly has more than paid for itself,” said French. “You take a dump truck, a backhoe and a team of five or six men to clean up an area  —it’s no sweat to chew up $8,000-$10,000,” he said.

Once people began getting caught on camera, French said, illegal dumping in the town has dwindled to almost nothing.

The mayor said it all fell into place after the town hired Brian Cranford, a retired RNC inspector, as the manager of enforcement.

“When we first started this we couldn’t go in a back road in Conception Bay South without finding a couch or a dishwasher because people are just too lazy to drive down to Robin Hood Bay (landfill site),” said Cranford.

“But the minute we started laying charges and publicizing it, all of a sudden we went from our public works people going in and loading up dump trucks to now they can’t find anything,” he said.

French said Cranford has been instrumental in helping the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board reach out to inform other towns about the advantages of using surveillance.

The Crown agency announced in February it was embarking on a program to address illegal dumping based on C.B.S.’s success combatting the problem.

The MMSB  seconded Cranford to provide enforcement training, education and installation to several towns across the province.

Labrador City, Northern Peninsula Regional Service Board, Deer Lake, Elliston, Marystown, Placentia

and Stephenville have since been invited to participate in the pilot project.

 MMSB CEO Mike Sampson told The Telegram Wednesday the installation of cameras is underway in the seven areas and is expected to be done by August.

Cranford said the proof of its success, aside from a clean environment, is in the charges.

 He said the town has laid 11 charges with 10 convictions —  one case is before the court and fines range from $1,000-$2,000.

“We try to be in court for all the cases, and depending on the situation if we catch a contractor we ask the judge to also impose a court order to make them clean it up. That’s a big thing for us as well,” said Cranford.

“But it’s really working in C.B.S. and other places, but you have got to have the proper documentation. You have to use the provincial legislation. And when you lay the charge you have to involve the media.

“There’s no sense laying the charge if you don’t have the exposure,” he said.





Organizations: Multi-Materials Stewardship Board, Crown agency, Labrador City Northern Peninsula Regional Service Board

Geographic location: Old Broad Cove Road, Robin Hood Bay, Deer Lake Marystown Placentia Stephenville

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Recent comments

  • Jackie
    July 25, 2013 - 17:55

    Well I don't think we have ever really been known for being the smartest of people. This just kind of confirms it. Add in 4th highest crime rate and dangerous drivers and we got ourselves a nice little piece of heaven dont we?

  • sc
    July 25, 2013 - 13:19

    I don't know if it's laziness, ignorance, or illiteracy that's to blame for the numerous people who dump their garbage wherever they like. I suspect it's also a case of them trying to prove something to themselves or others that they think they are beyond the law and are going to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and however they want. It's similar to people driving while talking on their cell phones even though it's illegal. 'T' suggests keeping the dumps and recycling centres open longer. Why would that work? Some homeowners in St. John's still don't recycle (even though it's remarkably easy), and one needs to look on any street or outside any store/restaurant/pub to see the amount of garbage that people have left behind. The people who dump garbage in areas where they shouldn't will continue to do so unless the fines are increased substantially and there is a good chance of them being caught. It never ceases to amaze me how filthy this province is compared to other places I have visited. It says a great deal about the mindset of people here that they choose to live in a pigsty.

  • fred
    July 25, 2013 - 12:51

    The city of St.John's have no teeth behind them, all bluster and not much muster. Reactive, not proactive!! There are officers from the traffic division out in the daytime night time patrolling parks and traffic duty for the entire city. Why can't they have their patrols broadened to keep a check on problem areas.

  • Henry
    July 25, 2013 - 12:17

    Newfoundlanders got to be the dirtiest bunch/place.

    • Seriously
      July 25, 2013 - 13:08

      You must be speaking about yourself. I am a Newfoundlander and I am not dirty nor lazy. A certain few idiots does not warrant stereotyping all the people in the province. There's idiots everywhere else too, an example is the Jeff idiot who states that Newfoundlanders can't read. I am well educated as are many Newfoundlanders.

  • cynthia
    July 25, 2013 - 11:44

    Just another note of what should be done with these idiots who dump.... take there drivers lic. away for 6 months and also fine them to the hilt... Let see if this makes them stop dumping items where there not suppose to belong.

  • cynthia
    July 25, 2013 - 11:40

    You know it just come to show that people have no regard for anything that is decent. All you hear them do is complain when things are not there for them. We have a wonderful facitlity to bring our items that we don't want any more. And this is what the idiots do.... not idiots, ASSHOLES... CAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY DO.... They really have no regard for anything that is nice. If I were the council and found out who they were , I would dump on there lawn and see how the shoe fits on the other foot... More action needs to be taken with these individuals.... just saying.

  • T
    July 25, 2013 - 10:29

    Dump sites should be open seven days a week ,including, holidays probably until nightfall, or shortly after; say 6 PM winter, 8 PM summer. Not being open on Monday is idiotic, that is the very time some 'weekender' or small part-time contractor needs to dump the leftovers and get back to their weekday activity. In other words dumping and recycling should be as simple and easy as possible; nor surrounded by rules and regulations. It's obvious that many people support the idea! Maybe a months trial?

  • Aunt Lizzie
    July 25, 2013 - 10:08

    Anyone caught dumping illegally should have their trucks confiscated, and the rubbish should be returned to them and dumped in their driveway along with a bill for the full cost ($8,000 to $10,000 according to French).

  • Richard Delage
    July 25, 2013 - 09:06

    Get more bylaw officers ! At night as well. Surely the fines can pay for them. Am still seeing people dropping and throwing garbage out of car! Stiff fine them, take the car till its paid right there and then. If Game Wardens have guns give them to By-law Officers to. Just do something to stop alot of us from crying.

  • disgusted
    July 25, 2013 - 08:31

    Just last week I reported a similar dumping to crime stoppers. In the Portugal Cove - St. Philips area there are many trails along which I have found household garbage and small appliances dumped - even next to a cemetery in the woods! One day, while walking on a trail I came across a middle-aged man dumping the entire contents of his truck into the woods in the Cove. He left quickly when he saw me coming. I couldn't get his license plate or I would have reported him. What is wrong with the attitude of people who use public land to dump garbage? Shame! We have a dump - which is well run - and that is where we should be taking garbage which can't we thrown out during weekly pick-ups. Thanks to the Tele for publishing these stories. This is a crime and needs more publicity.

  • Jeff
    July 25, 2013 - 08:27

    Take a DNA sample from the material provided and use it to track down the user of the material (provided that his/her DNA is already on record for a match). As it's in the public domain, there should be no legal techicalities to invalidate the sample in a court of law. Unfortunately, though, a positive DNA match of the user of the material doesn't prove that the same person dumped it. Still, it could be a useful lead.

  • Joe
    July 25, 2013 - 08:11

    Is the Telegram charging Hann and French for this advertising? No wonder new candidates have a hard time getting elected. Ballots will be going out with in a month and the election will be over by the first of September with the mail in ballots.

  • that's not all
    July 25, 2013 - 08:04

    The signs don't stop people from letting their dogs swim in Windsor Lake either.

  • Robert
    July 25, 2013 - 08:00

    Based on the amount of litter that blows around our malls, supermarkets and schools the problem here is far more than a few "dirt bags". And those who smoke obviously do not see 20 cigarette butts and their packaging being tossed away each and everyday as a litter problem. So why would anyone be shocked and surprised that some people would dump garbage in the woods.......heck I could argue that at least they tried to hide the garbage down some back woods road. AA will tell you that the 1st step to a cure is admitting one has a problem and the problem "we" have here is certainly an addiction. I've also heard you do not cure an addiction you simply learn to control it. I think it is a marvelous thing that every spring all kinds of volunteers come out of the woodwork to spend an hour picking up litter only to spend the rest of year more then putting back what you collected in that hour. Quite simply the cure is going to cost big bucks and the sooner we accept this fact the sooner we will begin to see less garbage dumped wherever.

  • At a Loss
    July 25, 2013 - 07:46

    I am at a loss! I cannot understand the motivation to dump there - when Robin Hood Bay landfill is less than 10 minutes away. Why risk being caught, risk the damage to your vehicle getting into the spot, etc.. when you can drive up to a nice, clean facility, and drop off all that, no hassles, no risk, no cost! the city did a damn fine job with the residential landfill drop off facility!!! It is now a PLEASURE to go to the dump! Am I missing something? What is the reason NOT to go to the landfill?

  • original townie
    July 25, 2013 - 07:21

    The heavy hand of the law? That's a joke. There is no heavy hand of the law which is why people dump things wherever and could care less. I do agree with Mr. Hann on two is disgusting and totally unnecessary.

    • Not surprised
      July 25, 2013 - 19:31

      I agree totally, heavy hand of the law. My 1 year old has a heavier hand than our law. Also if any politician makes that statement they need to give their head a shake and take a day off and attend Provincial Court, until people stop walking out of there with smiles and laughing then nothing will change.

  • Churchill
    July 25, 2013 - 07:20

    The people who dump in the woods are the worst kind of scum. You can't go down any road on the island without finding all types of garbage including appliances, mattresses, etc. . . It's just pure malice what these people do.

  • Jeff
    July 25, 2013 - 07:12

    The problem is that so many NLers are unable to read. Just go to the nearest grocery store, find the giant "No Parking/Fire Lane" signs and then look below them at the poor illiterate fool sitting in his car waiting for the missus.

  • like ducks
    July 25, 2013 - 06:59

    This doesn't surprise me, we'll always have dirt bags among us.

  • give up
    July 25, 2013 - 06:55

    Robin Hood bay dump is what less than 10kms from where this stuff is dumped. People in this world have little regard for anything other than themselves. No respect and no common sense at all.