Jason Bellows put his outrage into action on Saturday.
With the help of 10 friends, Bellows collected close to one ton of household garbage that had been dumped on a forestry road above Sunnybrae and at another site off Shaw Road near the Canoe Creek Golf Course.
“We got close to a ton of garbage, but we still have a lot to go,” says the owner of Westside Stores, noting the Sunnybrae site was pretty much cleaned up but the Shaw Road site requires a lot more work. “It’s just disgusting. People threw out whole framed windows, we found chainsaw parts, oil filters – just people throwing crap out.”
Bellows says there were bed frames, bed springs and other items the volunteer work crew couldn’t get out.
“You almost need heavy equipment to get some of that crap out,” he says, pointing out the 11 volunteers left his store in Centenoka Park Mall at 11 a.m. and didn’t return until 3:30 p.m.
“I think there was some disgust and I would say definitely outrage that some people would be so ignorant as to do this,” he says of the group’s rainy Saturday foray. “Everyone was happy to be there and helping out. As much as they were upset by the mess there was some pride we were out doing something.”
Outrage and disgust were evident in Bellows’ voice last Friday when he was in the process of getting a work crew together.
He was out hunting early in the morning, up a forestry road, just under the cliffs of Bastion Mountain.
The avid outdoorsman says he drove by the site but was so disgusted he returned to have a closer look and found a lot of household items including patio swings, a child’s car seat and fast food garbage, among other things.
“I put it out to make a statement; it is important that we care about our animals and their homes,” he says of his post on Westside Store’s Facebook page. “This type of act is pathetic and if we get lucky enough to find some mail in the mess, we will be reporting it to the authorities.”
While members of Saturday’s work party did not find any identifiable mail, they did get a prescription bottle with a name. It will be turned over to the RCMP.
Grateful to members of the crew who worked without complaint in a torrential downpour and to Panago for providing free lunch, Bellows says he know there are illegal dumping sites up almost every local forestry road. He hopes to gather more volunteers to get back out in May, when the weather will likely be kinder.
Ben Van Nostrand, team leader of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Environmental Health Services, says he does hear about illegal dumping including the Shaw Road site and another in South Canoe.
“We are working with various groups and if they organize a group to clean up the site we will waive the tipping fees,” he says, noting people who spot illegal dumping sites should call the RAPP Line toll free at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or report violators using the online form at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/rapp/form.htm.
“The Conservation Service is the point of contact for this.”