East Zorra-Tavistock Township is getting fed up with illegal dumping.

Council was recently given a report written by Tom Lightfoot, the township’s public works manager. It outlined a problem that is only getting worse.

“Illegal dumping along township road right-of-ways continues to be an ongoing issue. Last fall, the township saw an increase in garbage bags being dumped in ditches regularly. The situation got so bad we were sending a truck out every Monday morning to clean up garbage. We have now again seen an increase in the past couple of months in both the north and south halves of the township, with the south half of the township being the worst area.”

He added on one particular day, public works staff found four piles of construction debris and carpet dumped in separate locations on the 11th and 10th lines. 

“That particular incident required a loader, dump truck and two operators plus the time to run the load to the landfill with tipping fees over and above that amount. Given this, illegal dumping is having a significant impact on staff time and budget.”

Staff is recommending placing no dumping signs on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 11th  and 10th  lines just north of Oxford Road #17 as they are the worst areas for dumping. Staff is also suggesting pictures be posted on social media channels to educate the public about the cost of the problem.

The approved roadside-maintenance debris pickup budget for 2024 is $15,748. To date, the township has spent $5,615.09 in staff costs, equipment usage and garbage-disposal fees. 

“I can say that in one pay period we experienced internal equipment charges and staff time plus benefits in excess of $1,200 to do a cleanup. This does not include the fuel and disposal charges,” said township CAO Karen DePrest.

Lightfoot said the current fine if someone is caught dumping is $50, however at the last council meeting staff was directed to bring a bylaw back to council increasing the penalty to $1,000.

Mayor Phil Schaefer provided the Gazette with a statement and, as expected, he is not pleased with what he is seeing.

“I am angered and frustrated at the increase in illegal dumping in our township. It shows a lack of respect for the environment, as well as for EZT taxpayers. It is neither difficult nor expensive to properly dispose of waste and I fully support the increase in fines. I hope the new signage indicating the increased fines will prove to be a deterrent.”

Lightfoot said the dump sites are found through regular road patrols. 

“Residents also contact the office to let us know about illegal dumping. We have had one occasion where we had to clean up four dump-trailer loads of construction debris and household waste. It has become a regular occurrence to have to send staff out weekly for cleanup.”

Dump sites have been found throughout the township, but the bulk of the material is in the south half of the township between Oxford Road 17 and Oxford Road 33.

Council endorsed the placement of “No Dumping” signs along township-owned roads connecting to Oxford Road 17. Staff will also publish social media posts to educate the public about illegal dumping within the township road right-of-ways. 

The purchase of signs is expected to cost approximately $500 plus the staff time required to install them.

By Lee Griffi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 14, 2024 at 11:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Gazette   Wilmot-Tavistock, Ontario

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