Illegal trash dumping infuriates frustrated Point Douglas residents
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Point Douglas residents are sick of being dumped on.
A large white dump truck recently deposited trash on a dead-end road in the inner-city neighbourhood, prompting some people who live nearby to demand measures to deter dumping.
Residents say a local company was caught on camera doing the deed May 26 instead of taking it to the landfill. In a video posted on Facebook, the truck stops near the corner of Maple Street and Sutherland Avenue and drops a large load of garbage.
Ryan Gobeil, whose company owns a building beside the site, said its security camera recorded the incident. Gobeil, manager of Eliminator-RC, said the video was quickly posted on social media.
“It was disgusting that it happened… I think it’s very harmful, not only to animals, but people, the environment. It also sends a message to everybody else (that’s) like a snowball effect (that dumping) will just carry on,” said Gobeil. “We’ve had problems (with) dumping up there for a while.”
Several neighbours condemned the act online, which many say is far too common throughout the area. In this case, the crew of a local contracting company was identified as the culprit. The company apologized and the site was cleaned up.
Gobeil said he recalls the city had a still camera at the site in the past, as part of a project intended to catch illegal dumpers. He said the site has been a hot spot for discarded bulky waste for about eight years. He hopes the city will put a permanent camera at the spot and boost police presence in the area, both of which he believes helped reduce such behaviour in the past.
Catherine Flynn, chairwoman of the Point Douglas Residents Committee, said frustration is mounting.
“(I was) angry, irritated, frustrated, you name it… You can tell the entire community was frustrated by this,” she said.
Flynn said her committee regularly conducts community cleanups, which are greatly impeded by discarded piles of bulky waste that residents and companies should take to the landfill.
“It’s really demoralizing and it shows an incredible lack of respect for the residents here,” she said, adding she asked the city to install a permanent camera at the site about three years ago.
She said incidents of dumping have grown more frequent throughout downtown and core neighbourhoods, noting everything — from a deer carcass to bricks and general trash — has been discarded in her area.
“There’s truckloads of garbage, you name it. People think they can just come into Point Douglas. They don’t want to pay the tipping fees (at the landfill), and they just dump their crap here,” she said.
The president of the William Whyte Neighbourhood Association routinely calls 311 to report dumping incidents. Darrell Warren said people dump material behind homes, which can leave residents on the hook to remove it.
“It definitely has (an) impact on the area. People drive through the area and think… these people just throw their garbage all over the place and don’t really care,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that do care but somebody has dumped illegally behind their properties.”
A city spokesman confirmed a two-year pilot project that used high-resolution surveillance cameras to combat illegal dumping ended in 2018.
“Illegal-dumping surveillance has operated on a limited basis since then, due to operational constraints including technology upgrade requirements and staff redirected to assist the province with enforcement of public health orders related to COVID-19. We don’t disclose camera locations so as not to compromise surveillance,” Adam Campbell wrote in an emailed statement.
“The city still responds to any complaints for illegal dumping via 311 and any evidence provided by complainants can be used in the investigation and enforcement of the Neighbourhood Liveability Bylaw.”
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.