If those people are looking to go to the backroads in and around Deer Lake and know the municipal enforcement officer is not handy to that area, they will also know their chances of getting caught by him are slim.
Illegal dumping is a problem that exists almost everywhere in Newfoundland and Labrador, but some municipalities will soon have a new tool to help combat the problem of indiscriminate dumping and even smaller-scale littering.
Barnes was one of about two dozen municipal staff and elected officials who attended an information session in Corner Brook Thursday evening about a new program that uses video surveillance of problem areas as a means to enforce bylaws and regulations and deter violators.
“I’m a snowmobile and ATV guy and go into Goose Arm Road all the time,” said Barnes. “It’s everywhere you look. Next door to the cabin is a car wreck. Next to that is a pile of garbage. It’s terrible.”
The new program is a project of the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board and inspired by the successful surveillance enforcement program currently in place in Conception Bay South. Since that town decided to install a series of cameras in some problem areas it had identified recently, there have been 11 charges laid against illegal dumpers caught red-handed on video.
Of those 11 charges, there have been nine convictions and the other two are still before the courts.
The MMSB is in the process of delivering information sessions throughout the province with the aim of eventually helping provide equipment to communities who think they could use the same approach to slow down the problem of illegal dumping in their areas.
Towns, or even groups of municipalities, will be able to submit applications to the MMSB for $6,000 in funding for camera equipment, signage, promotional materials and any travel associated with training on how to implement the program for their area. Proposals must include the applicants having staff resources available to carry out the program, but the MMSB will not be covering the labour costs for that person.
Corner Brook city councillor Donna Francis agreed with the MMSB and Brian Cranford, CBS’s municipal enforcement manager who also presented on his town’s experience Thursday, in that it’s a good idea for neighbouring municipalities to join together as applicants for this program.
“If there is any way, as a group of communities, to enter into this to create a partnership and do something that benefits all of us, that would be a great way to go,” she said. “I will be bringing this back to council to have a look at this and see if there is anything as a city we would be interested in applying for.”
A regional partnership, she added, would make sense in terms of both the area covered and the ability for those involved to collectively shoulder the burden of any costs associated with hiring or appointing a person to conduct a surveillance program. Having cameras moving from one area to another from time to time, or just the mere fact of illegal dumpers never knowing when they are being observed, could be a strong deterrent.
Barnes also believed that a joint effort is also the best route for municipalities to go in trying to deal with this problem.
“I think that would give everybody an opportunity to be onboard,” said Barnes. “There would be enough manpower and funds and the people who are doing this sort of stuff wouldn’t know what to expect.”