As a pair of community cleanups in the North End draw near, local resident groups are applauding a city plan to raise fines on those caught dumping garbage in their neighbourhoods.
On May 6, the city’s protection and community services committee approved amendments to Winnipeg’s neighbourhood liveability bylaw, increasing fines to $600 for individuals caught dumping and $1,200 for corporations.
"The city has been very receptive," said Annette Champion-Taylor of the William Whyte Residents Association.
"Some people just don’t understand any other language until it hits their pocketbooks."
The previous fines were $300 and $600, respectively.
The city also introduced new fines for large-scale dumping and large-scale accumulation of garbage — $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for corporations.
The city says it will use those fines to boost enforcement to further curb dumping, which has plagued the North End for years.
Champion-Taylor says she’s already seen an increase in bylaw officers patrolling her neighbourhood, and city stats confirm a crackdown.
Since fall 2012, city bylaw officers have served 36 illegal dumping tickets, up from one to two annually prior to 2012, a City of Winnipeg spokesperson said. In 2012, officers handed out 87 garbage accumulation tickets, 80 of those to individuals.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie, who sits on the community services committee and proposed the increases, hopes it will help throw water on arson problems in the area.
People or businesses dumping couches, mattresses and construction materials don’t know how much they’re contributing to the problem, he said.
"They’re not setting the fires, but they’re setting up the fuel for these punks who think they can torch the whole city," said Eadie.
The amendments head to city council for approval May 29.
In the meantime, William Whyte, along with the Dufferin Residents Association, will hold community cleanups on Fri., May 24 and Sat., May 25.
On the Friday, the organizations will be meeting participants, which include many North End businesses, at the Business Development Centre at 607 Selkirk Ave. Registration is open from 8 to 10 a.m.
A soup and sandwich lunch will be served at Inner City Youth Alive at 418 Aberdeen Ave., and the cleanup will wrap up around 2:30 p.m.
Registration will also take place from 8 to 10 a.m. for Saturday’s clean up at Pritchard Park. There will be a barbecue.
The WWRA will continue publishing garbage and recycling tips as part of its regular newsletter, along with information needed to properly report scofflaws, Champion-Taylor said.