Closures impact fight against illegal dumping

Society has made a big dent in the amount of trash in the Campbell River area

The imminent closures of the Campbell River and Comox Valley Compost Education centres couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bud Logan.

Logan, one of the founders of the Island Forest Stewards Society, was counting on the centres and their educators to help put a stop to illegal dumping.

“Our society cleans up illegal dump sites but along with this we are in the process of creating an educational program that we can use in the school districts of Vancouver Island,” Logan said. “I need to have the compost centre open and Elaine Jansen (educator at the Campbell River centre) doing her magic at teaching the ins and outs of composting. When we talk about what’s wrong with illegal dumping with the kids, we need to be able to show alternative options like composting.”

While Logan said his society has made a big dent in the amount of trash in the Campbell River area – 70,000 pounds of garbage has been cleaned up since the society got started in May – more needs to be done.

Logan said that’s where the compost centre comes into play. Jansen taught each child – and their parents, too – who stopped by the centre about the importance of composting rather than throwing items such as food scraps into the trash.

“Elaine Jansen is an asset to our community. I have been there many times and witnessed how many visitors came and was always amazed at the amount of activity going on at this place,” Logan said. “You can bet that these people will sorely miss this gathering place.”

Last year alone, 5,367 visitors stopped by the centre while 5,447 paid a visit in 2012. In 2011, the compost centre saw 3,631 people come through.

But the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste Management Board is considering a budget based on closing both the Campbell River and Comox Valley Compost Education Centres in order to save an estimated $137,227 in 2014. A motion to save the Campbell River centre was defeated by the board at a meeting Nov. 7. As an alternative to the centres, the board is considering offering the educational programs off site.

Still, Logan said with the amount of illegal dumping he sees in the area, particularly on the Duncan Bay Logging Road, it’s clear the community needs its Compost Education Centre.

“I don’t like the idea of it being shut down, we need to be able to educate people about composting and be able to educate people about recycling,” Logan said. “These are programs that are a great benefit to Campbell River and to Courtenay. I’m saddened by the centre closing but we’re going to do everything we can to try and change their minds.”

Logan hopes to have a Facebook page, Save the Campbell River Compost Education Centre, up and running on Friday which will appeal to the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service to keep the centre open.

Meanwhile, Logan is ploughing ahead with the Island Forest Stewards and is raising money to help the society continue its efforts of cleaning up garbage left behind by illegal dumpers across the Island. Logan is painting a coastal scene canvas at Impressions on Shoppers Row and will raffle off the painting in early December.  To enter, drop by Impressions and make a donation to the Island Stewards for a chance to win.

Island Forest Stewards

 

Island Stewards originally, dubbed Shame the Logging Road Dumpers, first garnered attention earlier this year when Logan uploaded a video to YouTube naming all of the illegal dumpers who left garbage on the back roads around Campbell River.

Logan said he contacts each person whose garbage he comes across and invites them to join the group in a clean-up – so far only one woman contacted has accepted his invitation.

Logan said now that the group is gaining some notoriety, the amount of illegal dumping has decreased significantly. The hidden cameras also don’t hurt.