If you illegally dump garbage and think no one is watching, think again, or be prepared to face a hefty fine or a date in court.
A business recently found this out the hard way when it was issued a $500 ticket through the Township of Langley’s #idiot anti-dumping and littering campaign, after a complaint was received about garbage spotted near 208 Street and 83 Avenue.
An investigation was launched, and black garbage bags full of trash were found in the area. Township crews discovered paperwork inside, which was reviewed by bylaw officers who found a business name and address, and went and spoke to the owners. The owners were not able to explain how garbage from their business – which is not located in the Township – ended up on the side of the road.
They were promptly issued, and paid, a $500 Bylaw Notice under the Township’s Solid Waste Management Bylaw 2016 No. 5200, Section 10.2.1, which states that “No person shall discard any garbage, organics, recyclable material, large items, or prohibited material in a public place or highway…”
“This is one of many big breaks we have had in the enforcement approach to the #idiot campaign, which is out in full force and using new investigation and enforcement tactics to catch illegal dumpers,” said Langley Township sustainability programs specialist Tess Rouse. “If people don’t follow the rules, holding them accountable financially may get their attention and make them think twice before simply dumping their trash.”
The Township launched the #idiot campaign last summer to prevent illegal dumping through education, infrastructure, and enforcement. The letters in the word “idiot” stand for “Illegal Dumper In Our Township” and this initiative urges people not to dump waste in the Township.
The campaign provides information on proper disposal options, warns offenders that they will be caught and fined, and encourages the public to take action and report those who are dumping illegally.
“Don’t think you got away with it, just because you weren’t caught in the act,” Rouse added. “Offenders can still face stiff penalties when the debris they dumped is examined and an investigation is held to identify the culprit.”
Rouse noted that $500 is the maximum penalty that can be incurred under the Bylaw Offence Notice System used by the Township. The system allows the Township and recipients to deal with disputes at the local level. However, with new enforcement and investigation tactics providing indisputable proof, anyone caught illegally dumping should not be surprised to find their case in front of Provincial Court, where fines are higher and penalties are more significant.
To help find and identify illegal dumping and offenders, cameras have been put up at various illegal dumping hot spots and more are being installed. The Township also appreciates the tips, input, and ideas being offered through social media, online at tol.ca/illegaldumping, and through the reporting hotline at 1-844-SEE-DUMP (733-3867).
“People who actually witness infractions are still the best evidence in court, so please continue to report when you see illegal dumping – or if you notice anything that seems suspicious,” Rouse said.
Reports have recently surfaced that residents in rural areas that do not receive municipal garbage collection may have fallen prey to a fraudster who offered to properly dispose of garbage for a fee, but instead illegally dumped it on someone else’s property and pocketed the extra cash.
Residents and businesses are ultimately responsible for where their trash ends up, and should check to ensure any person or business they hire is properly licensed. A list of legitimate private collection services can be found on tol.ca. If you suspect an unlicensed hauler is operating in your area, record their licence plate and contact information and report it. Your tips may help stop dozens of dump sites each year and save taxpayer dollars.