Two Nanaimo residents were recently fined for illegal dumping offences.
Last December, the Regional District of Nanaimo announced that dumping charges were laid against two individuals – the first under the district’s Waste Stream Management Licensing Bylaw, which was created in 2004.
Under the bylaw, violators could face fines of up to $200,000.
On May 7, Nikki Deer pleaded guilty to an offence occurring on or around Aug. 1, 2012, and received a $400 fine. On June 3, Richard Sitar pleaded guilty to an offence occurring on or around May 30, 2012, and received a $2,000 fine.
Maude Mackey, the regional district’s Zero Waste compliance officer, said the district goes through a progressive enforcement process where staff first try to get people to clean up the mess before taking them to court.
“If we can’t work with those individuals and get them to see they’ve made a huge mistake and to go clean it up, then we will be taking them to court,” she said.
Mackey expects more people will receive fines under the bylaw.
“Illegal dumping is nothing new,” she said. “It happens and will continue to happen because it’s a lifestyle and a mentality. If you don’t manage it, it will just get worse and worse.”
The recent imposing of fines gives credibility to the bylaw and reinforces to the general public that the regional district will do what it can to stop illegal dumping, Mackey said.
Although illegally dumped material makes up less than one per cent of the solid waste generated in the regional district, it can have serious effects on the environment, wildlife habitat and the ability of community members to use and enjoy outdoor recreational areas.
“It’s an ugly blight on the landscape with many unforeseen impacts,” said Mackey.
The RDN is taking several steps to combat and prevent illegal dumping, including funding the clean-up of disposal sites and carrying out surveillance, prevention, education and enforcement activities. Enforcement actions are largely dependent on information received from the community.
To report illegal dumping in the RDN, please call 250-390-6560 or 1-877-607-4111.
To report illegal dumping in the City of Nanaimo, please call 250-758-5222.