DEBERT – J.P. Wood looks with disgust at a mess of illegally dumped residential shingles and offers some advice.
“Don’t trust anybody with your garbage.”
Standing beside two large piles of asphalt shingles that were unloaded on private property on Dakota Road last Saturday, the waste management officer for Colchester County said that anyone who has entrusted someone else to dispose of their garbage should be very careful to ensure it is properly disposed. And if you have hired someone to remove it for you – even if it was for a small sum - make sure you get a written receipt of the transaction.
“I just advise them to be very careful,” Wood said. “This not something we like to see.”
Based on the observations of a local resident who regularly walks the near-isolated industrial area within the Dakota Road loop, the shingles were dumped off around 3 p.m. Saturday.
“You look at a site like this, it’s tough to say the quantity or the size of the house,” he said.
“There’s quite a pile of shingles.”
The suspect vehicle is a black or dark blue pickup truck that was hauling what appeared to be a homemade, flatbed trailer with low side racks.
“It was a well-kept truck,” said the resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. The truck was further described as being clean looking but not flashy.
“I’m guessing it was a Chev or a Ford,” the person said.
Whether it was an area resident who re-shingled their own roof and dumped off the load as an easy means of disposing of it, or a contractor who failed to properly honour their commitment, is unknown.
But ultimately in such situations, the offenders are simply pushing their responsibility onto an innocent property owner.
“Right now it’s sitting on private property, so in instances like this, it becomes that private property owner’s problem,” Wood said.
Unfortunately, it’s not an isolated case.
“What we’ve noticed, and I’ve been with the county for six years now, I’ve noticed a lot of illegal dumping by people who have businesses in the community,” he said. “So it’s not somebody who comes from outside the community. That’s the unfortunate part because it’s your neighbours (who are doing the dumping).”
When he encounters such situations, Wood generally sifts through the dumped material to try to determine is source of generation.
There are also a couple of neighbouring businesses in the area with security surveillance cameras that may have captured the vehicle as it passed through and which may offer clues to the offender’s identity.
Failing such identification, however, the onus will fall to the property owner to clean up someone else’s mess.
“I’d like to think that somebody saw something in the middle of the day on Saturday,” Wood said.
And for anyone who has illegally disposed of their garbage onto someone else’s property, Wood suggested a prospect he would like to see them consider.
“What people have to think about is, what if this was their property that it was dumped on.”
Illegal dumping side bar:
Information provided by the County of Colchester Waste Management office:
There was concern that the clear bag program could increase the number of illegal dumps across the county. This is proven not to be true. The number of reported sites seems to remain close to the same year after year.
The most common materials found at an illegal dumpsite are typically construction and renovation materials.
All of the reports of illegal dumping are investigated by J.P. Wood, waste management officer.
Since last April there have been 15 official complaints that required an investigation. The majority of the sites were ultimately cleaned up by the people whose identification had been found at the property. (This does not mean that they actually caused the material to be put there only that there was some circumstantial evidence that the garbage had been generated by a particular family, residence or property.)
The municipality has the ability to write summary offense tickets (ranging from $500 to $5,000) and to also recoup clean-up costs through a property owner’s municipal taxes.