Comox-Strathcona region gets serious about illegal dump sites

Contracted Wedler Engineering to work in partnership with Project Watershed to map dump sites

After months of volunteer work to clear tons of illegally dumped trash from logging roads, the Island Forest Stewards are getting official recognition.

The ad hoc group of people who are fed up with the roadside eyesores were first known as Shame The Logging Road Dumpers. They changed the name this past summer and last week they received official society status from the province.

More importantly, the work of the Stewards was unofficially recognized Oct. 16, by the regional group which oversees the pick of trash and dumping, Comox Strathcona waste management.

“By dumping illegally, violators create a problem that goes deeper than the cost of the clean-up of the sites,” said Vince Van Tongeren, a engineering analyst, in a news release. “It can also have serious effects on the environment, wildlife habitat and the ability of community members to use and enjoy outdoor recreational areas.”

The Island Forest Stewards weren’t actually named in the press release, but most its work is being incorporated into a new action plan. Specifically,  Comox Strathcona waste management is calling on the public to make use of the application “TrashOut” which uses GPS to pinpoint illegal dumpsites.

This is something the Stewards have been using for the past month.

“We’ve mapped more than 300 sites already,” said Bud Logan, one of the Stewards’ founders.

Comox Strathcona will continue to use the data supplied by the public and the Stewards, and has also contracted Wedler Engineering to work in partnership with Project Watershed to map dump sites in the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts.

“The information that has been brought forward has been extremely helpful,” said Wedler’s Sonya Jenssen. “We can utilize all the work that has already been done to identify sites, to provide us with a better idea of how wide-spread this problem really is in this region.”

The regional plan came about following two recent meetings with stakeholders. Logan said it was encouraging to see the regional politicians and representatives of TimberWest at the meetings, but was disappointed there was no one there from Forestry and Environment ministries, as well as the RCMP.

One of the goals of the Stewards is to buy several digital cameras that can be hidden near illegal dumpsites to catch perpetrators in the act. Another big goal, noted Logan, is to buy vehicles and equipment to clean up dumpsites wherever they may be.

“We’re called the Island Forest Stewards for a reason. We want to clean up Vancouver Island, not just Campbell River,” said Logan, who’s pleased there’s finally some official response. “It’s nice that we’re being taken seriously.”

  • Learn more by visiting the Facebook sites, Island Forest Stewards or Help Prevent Illegal Dumping.
  • For more information on the project visit www.cswm.ca/illegaldumping. Residents can also send photos of illegal dump sites for mapping to cswmplan@wedler.com