Two people have been charged in court with illegally dumping waste in the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The charges, laid by the regional district, are the first under the district’s Waste Stream Management Licensing Bylaw, which was created in 2004.
The residents, Richard Sitar and Nikki Deer, are charged with two separate incidences of dumping, on or around May 30, 2012 and Aug. 1, 2012. Both were scheduled to appear in court Dec. 4, but neither showed up.
A bench warrant was issued for Deer, while Sitar’s case was scheduled for another appearance on Dec. 18.
Both could face fines of up to $200,000 under the bylaw.
The news comes as a small victory for Ken Smith, one of a group of local residents who took it upon themselves to clean up illegally dumped garbage on the Doumont trails earlier this year. Together, with assistance from Waste Management, members of the Nanaimo Mountain Bike and Mike-Island ATV clubs removed 6,700 kilograms of waste from the area.
Maude Mackey, RDN Zero Waste compliance officer, could not confirm if the Doumont incident is related to the current charges before the courts.
Mackey said there have been 102 reports of illegal dumping up to Nov. 30 of this year, down from the 112 reported this time last year.
“Dumping is an issue everywhere,” she said. “We recognize it’s never going to stop but we attempt to manage it as best we can within the confines of the regulatory requirements.
“If we can attribute an illegal dump to someone, we attempt to make them responsible and have them clean it up and if that isn’t achievable, then unfortunately it’s up to the courts to decide what the appropriate remedy should be.”
Smith, a member of the ATV club, started up a Facebook group and began petitioning the RDN to take action after he came across a large mass of garbage while riding through the Doumont trails area.
“I feel that since we brought it to their attention we’ve put their feet to the fire a bit,” he said.
Smith says he hopes the charges will be a wake-up call to future offenders.
“It’s a start,” he said. “Maybe if the RDN keeps doing this it will make people realize it’s not that far to drive out to the dump.”
To report illegal dumping in the RDN, please call 250-390-6560 or 1-877-607-4111, or visit www.rdn.bc.ca and click on the solid waste and recycling link. To report illegal dumping in the City of Nanaimo, please call 250-758-5222.