Now more than ever, Corner Brook Mayor Charles Pender would like to see people report those they see illegally disposing of waste materials.
“It’s like, you see the signs around town, ‘RID,’ to get rid of impaired drivers,” he said during Monday night’s public council meeting at city hall. “We need to have the same system so people can call if they see someone disposing of waste and report that as well.”
Pender was addressing concerns he has heard regarding an increase in illegal dumping because of a new fee, implemented Monday by the Western Regional Waste Management Board, of $40.12 per tonne at the landfill in Wild Cove.
An electronic (RFID) card will be required to pay for garbage disposal at the site, which domestic users can acquire at the gate or at the board’s office. The card will have a $10 start-up amount already on the card at no cost. Commercial users cannot obtain a card until completing an application.
The board took over operations of the site on Jan. 1.
Pender said keeping the environment clean is the responsibility of everyone and pointed to recycling and curbside giveaway days as alternate means of getting rid of unwanted materials.
“If you can’t give it away and you can’t recycle it, the last step is to put it in the garbage,” he said. “The less waste we have, the less we have to dispose of and the less cost for all of us.”
The mayor acknowledged cameras the city has set up in different locations in an attempt to deter such behaviour, but said there is also a city full of people with cameras on their cell phones.
“I wouldn’t suggest anybody approach anybody that’s disposing waste in an area they shouldn’t be,” he said. “But snap a few photos and send them in and we’ll make sure they get to the proper authorities.”
Coun. Keith Cormier pointed out, at the rate of $40.12 per tonne, 200 pounds of bedroom furniture would only cost someone “like, four dollars,” and compared the card, which he displayed, to a “reloadable Tim’s card.” He also said materials such as metal is free, so hot water tanks or washers wouldn’t come with a charge to dispose of at the landfill. It was also noted that in the instance of scrapped vehicles, Rod’s Auto Salvage will pick them up free of charge, provided all fluids are properly drained.
“The average consumer in North America has about 700 kilograms of waste a year, that’s under a tonne, so it’s not a huge impediment — it’s important that those who have a lot, pay a lot,” Cormier said. “Senior citizens hardly have any refuse ... why as a city would we impose more taxes on these people as someone who is bringing a lot to the dump on a regular basis?”
The city’s 2014 spring cleanup began Monday and runs until May 16 this year, so Coun. Tony Buckle reminded residents there is no additional charge for extra waste left on the curbside during this period of time.
“Waste collected at curbside by the city contractor is included in residential property taxes,” he said.
He said the city understands residents and businesses may still have some concerns over the additional fees, but said the city no longer operates the landfill, so concerns need to be directed to the Western Regional Waste Management Board at 632-2922 or www.wrwm.ca.