By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The Regional District of Fraser-Fort George says the Province is responsible for the clean up of discarded waste found at Johnson Gravel Pit in McBride.

The Goat received tips from two McBride residents, who wished to remain anonymous, 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 Conservation Officer Service (COS) said both COS and natural resource officers are aware of illegal dumping in the gravel pit and patrol the region when their resources allow.

“It is important to note that while the Province does manage the Land Act, which includes issues like trespassing on Crown land or unauthorized use of Crown land, illegal dumping also falls under the jurisdiction of the regional district,” COS said.

RDFFG Manager of External Relations, Renee McCloskey said the issue of illegal dumping is complicated.

“The ultimate responsibility lies with the individual to ensure they are disposing of their waste in a socially and environmentally responsive manner that respects their community and surroundings,” McCloskey said.

She said if there’s evidence of illegal dumping at a regional district property, such as a park or even outside the gate of a transfer station, RDFFG has jurisdiction over clean up.

“If [the dumping] is located on Crown land, it is the responsibility of the provincial government,” McCloskey said.

The gravel pit itself is reportedly owned by the Ministry of Transportation.

McCloskey said the District is aware there are sometimes community groups who step up and organize community clean up days to tackle problem dumping sites, citing the Spruce City Wildlife Association in Prince George as an example.

“The Regional District is pleased to support community groups in this manner and through an application process we can waive tipping fees for these types of clean ups,” McCloskey said, adding that RDFFG doesn’t have the resources to conduct the clean up itself.

“We are greatly appreciative when community volunteers step up,” McCloskey said.