Some of the debris at Johnson Gravel Pit. /RMG FILE PHOTO

By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The Ministry of Transportation (MOTI) says it will clean up the garbage that was illegally dumped at Johnson Gravel Pit located in McBride.

The Goat received tips from two McBride residents about illegal dumping at the gravel pit in October and upon visiting the location found large tire marks leading to an embankment and discarded waste below, as well as miscellaneous garbage, including an empty soil bag, a snowmobile track, and a tire strewn about the area.

The BC Conservation Officer Service previously told The Goat it was under the Regional District’s jurisdiction to clean up the discarded garbage, while the District said it was the responsibility of the Province.

The ministry, which owns the pit, says it is responsible for cleaning up the debris. The clean-up itself hasn’t been scheduled.

“Ministry staff have been to the site and will be initiating clean-up as time and weather permit,” MOTI said.

In an attempt to prevent further illegal dumping at the site, the ministry says it will replace the no trespassing signs posted at its entrances.

“The ministry encourages members of the public to report any illegal dumping to the local ministry district office or the McBride RCMP,” MOTI said.

Renee McCloskey with the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George says the district is pleased to hear the ministry is planning on cleaning the pit, but added it’s “unfortunate” that a clean-up is even required.
“The majority of the population manages to dispose of their waste in a responsible, legal way. Illegal dumping is a poor choice that a small number of people make. Unfortunately, the impacts of illegal dumping leave a mess for others to clean up. It is harmful to our communities, environment, and wildlife and there is no justification for it,” McCloskey said.

She said in many cases, items that are dumped, like appliances, could be brought to a transfer station or landfill and disposed of properly for free.

“[The District] will continue to provide options for waste disposal and promote waste reduction and diversion and recycling,” McCloskey said.

She said enforcing rules relating to illegal dumping can be challenging, but effective.

“People are reminded that acts of illegal dumping can be reported to RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters), BC’s Conservation Officer 24 hr toll-free Hotline 1-877-952-7277. If the situation is not an emergency, complete and electronically submit the RAPP form on the BC RAPP website,” McCloskey said.