Linda Lucas is tired of spotting garden waste, food scraps, and plastic bags dumped in her Sooke neighbourhood every couple of months.
In mid-August, the Sooke woman found three sizeable orange garbage bags on the edge of her property, near the intersection of Sunriver Way and Philipps Road.
Lucas resisted the urge to rummage through the trash for evidence of the culprit, compared to what she did when a previous dump of garbage showed up not too far down the road last summer. At that time, she found garden waste, pieces of trash and uncapped needles.
“It’s so frustrating because now the responsibility is left up to me to throw out this trash,” Lucas said. “It’s so disheartening. Their reckless actions cause trash to end up in nearby rivers and ruin not only the neighbourhood but the environment.”
Lukas lives a few hundred metres from Sooke River.
Mike Hicks, Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director for the Capital Regional District, said the on-going problem has always been “disgraceful and pathetic” throughout the West Shore.
“The only way it’ll stop is when society shames people into saying it’s not OK to save $20 by instead dropping a bunch of trash into the forest,” Hicks said.
“It’s unbelievable. All we can do is try to discourage dumpers by establishing huge penalties.”
If anyone is spotted dumping garbage in the CRD, the fines could rack up to $10,000.
Hicks said five years ago, the CRD took a Victoria business it believed was dumping trash to court, but the aggressive action didn’t stand up. The company was never fined.
In early March, the District of Metchosin spent around $5,000 cleaning up dumped garbage. For three months prior, the district found black garbage bags filled with building materials like drywall.
After the materials tested positive for asbestos at eight different locations, the district hired a hazardous material company.
“People will always get rid of drywall [by dumping] because they don’t want to spend a dime here or there,” Hicks said.
“We’ve got to get people to smarten up and think about the fact that it isn’t cool to throw out an old mattress on the side of the road without taking it to a proper dump. But that’s a tall order.”
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