Whitehorse steps up efforts against illegal dumping

City officials are exploring the possibility of installing portable cameras, among other options, to help curb illegal dumping in Whitehorse. Dave Albisser, the city’s acting director of infrastructure and operations, said it’s an ongoing problem...

City officials are exploring the possibility of installing portable cameras, among other options, to help curb illegal dumping in Whitehorse.

Dave Albisser, the city’s acting director of infrastructure and operations, said it’s an ongoing problem for people to dump their large appliances and furniture in certain spots around town, and this seems to be happening more frequently since tipping fees rose in February.

“It’s always been a problem, now that tipping fees are more expensive,” Albisser said. “We’ve seen an increase, but I wouldn’t call it drastic.”

One notorious area is along the Chadburn Lake Road, while another is the bus turnaround on Range Road.

“It costs us all money when people escape the tipping fees,” he said.

“It’s really frustrating. Quite often you’ll see things like televisions, old couches, beds, lots of different things.”

The city hasn’t committed to purchasing the cameras yet, Albisser said, but it is looking at motion-sensitive models that could be moved around easily.

In the meantime, crews are installing more signs in illegal dumping areas and trying to catch people in the act – which is very difficult, he added.

The city is also working with community groups, such as Friends of McIntyre Creek, to clean up sites and find ways to prevent people from illegally dumping.

Recently, people have begun using an old dump site where the creek meets the Yukon River as dumping grounds, Albisser said. Kwanlin Dun First Nation is also facing the same issue on its land.

Tipping fees at the landfill increased on Feb. 1 this year, from $87 to $94 a tonne.

It costs $15 to dispose of a bedspring or mattress, and $10 for bulky items such as a couch or recliner.

Albisser said he suspects the increase in fees is partially behind the illegal dumping around Whitehorse.

City officials are still trying to determine how much it costs the city to deal with the issue on an annual basis, but Albisser estimates it’s between $25,000 to $50,000.

A fuel spill near the Whitehorse Community Garden in April reportedly cost the city about $2,000 to clean up, according to the CBC.

There is also an issue with people dropping off unacceptable materials at the landfill, another form of illegal dumping.

Such materials include ammunition, propane tanks, radioactive waste and vehicles.

Albisser said someone recently left detonation cord at the landfill, which can be explosive.

Ultimately, there is no panacea for this problem, he added.

“Every community struggles with this, it’s not an isolated thing,” Albisser said.

“I think it’s important to have a combination of public awareness and getting them to help out, improving the signage and enforcing the bylaw.

“We’ll use multiple angles in our approach to try and stop this.”

Under the city’s waste management bylaw, the fine for “unauthorized disposal” of waste is $100, while “improper disposal” is $300.

To report illegal dumping, call the Trouble Line at 667-2111.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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