‘Garbage begets garbage’

Dave Bartlett
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St. John’s city Couns. Sandy Hickman (left) and Debbie Hanlon visit an illegal dump site Thursday morning just off Kenmount Road. The piles of garbage were discovered by a berrypicker last weekend who reported the mess to Hanlon, the councillor for the area. — Photo by Dave Bartlett/The Telegram

You can’t see it from Kenmount Road, but just a few metres down a rough dirt track and into the woods is an illegal dump site.

Around a turn, piles of roofing shingles, a mound of old brick, appliances, computer parts and bags of miscellaneous trash lie in heaps as the trail continues for 100 metres or more, the debris piled on both sides.

Illegal dump sites have been an issue in the capital region and around the province for a number of years, according to St. John’s Coun. Debbie Hanlon.

On Thursday morning, Hanlon — the councillor for Ward 4, where the site was discovered — and Coun. Sandy Hickman, who chairs the city’s public works committee, invited The Telegram along as they investigated a complaint from a woman who discovered the site while berrypicking last weekend.

Hanlon credited the woman for letting the city know about the site.


Report illegal dumping

“If the public is aware of it, the public will let us know. And they can call 311. They don’t even need to say who they are,” Hanlon said.

While some of the garbage appears to have been left there recently, other piles appear to have been there for some time, including a mattress that has rotted away down to the rusty metal springs.

The smell is awful, and isn’t that different from a landfill site.

“This is not litter,” said Hanlon, noting that is an ongoing problem, too. “This is totally unfair. Whoever did this is totally selfish.”

Hickman thinks the culprit is likely a small contractor, as much of the mess is used building materials.

“This is probably a small businessperson, dumping these (shingles) after doing a job on a house. And then people see there’s already been a dump created here and others will toss their garbage in,” he said, “Garbage begets garbage.”

The city’s first step is to identify who owns the property.

If it is city owned, or Crown land, city public works crews will head into the area as soon as possible to clean up the mess, but it’s the taxpayers of St. John’s who will have to foot the bill.

However, if the land is privately owned, the landowner must legally be given time to clean up the mess at their own expense, but that process takes longer.

Hickman says there could be a day or more of work involved in removing the mess.

“This is going to take a (front-end) loader and some dump trucks,” he said.

After the rubbish is cleaned up, Hickman said the city will close the road or, if the land is privately owned, force the property owner to block the path.

For more images visit www.thetelegram.com to see a slideshow

Issue has surfaced again


The issue also came up at this week’s city council meeting when Coun. Tom Hann read an email into the record from a man in Goulds.

“Over the last couple of days he’s gone down and taken pictures of two to three truck loads of garbage that had been dumped,” said Hann.

In that case, the man also suggests the city put a chain across Power’s Road to keep traffic out.

Hickman said his biggest problem with dumping is that most people get away with it, as it’s hard to find the culprits after the deed is done.



Geographic location: Kenmount Road, Goulds

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Recent comments

  • Boss Hog
    September 15, 2011 - 09:04

    This site has been used for a dump for at least 30 years. To try to pass it off like it was just discovered is laughable when council has turned a blind eye to these illegal sites for years.

  • mary
    September 09, 2011 - 21:01

    To the other Mary, Blankets and tablecloths are accepted for covering garbage, it does not have to be nets.

  • yo mama
    September 09, 2011 - 21:00

    Use prisoners to clean it up like they do in civilized countries, I'm sure they'd be more than willing to get out for a while, free labor.

  • Tony
    September 09, 2011 - 12:52

    I have a place on the Southern Shore and we go on bike /skidoo rides during various times of the year. I am amazed at just how much effort some people will take to drop a fridge.stove.washer etc: miles and miles in an old dirt road that is basically only fit for bikes..but it's there. and new stuff every year..

    September 09, 2011 - 12:07

    What do you expect. Precious little thought went into the new garbage collection service for the Province. It was instituted before proper arrangements were made for disposal of many items. The garbage collectors too are getting as picky as those in other countries. Sometimes they take only what they want to and turn up with a small truck and a single operator to cope on his own with large items. So what do they do......leave it at the end of our driveways or it gets dumped as in the article.

  • Anna
    September 09, 2011 - 11:39

    From the majority of the comments posted, I can see why this Province is so filthy. People think because the dump is closed it gives them the right to dump it in the woods. The government is blamed for everything. What is wrong with paying $25 to have the garbage picked up? The lady with the cardbox box, why couldn't you have broken it down and placed in a garbage bag. Now I know why we are fighting an endless battle with garbage with people like you living in the Province.

  • John
    September 09, 2011 - 11:06

    Another part of this problem is the refusal of bulk collectors to bring a container outside the city. A couple of years ago, I called several companies to get a small container to put roof shingles in and they said I was too far out of the city. Luckily our regional dump was still operational and I had to take them there carload after carload. It's time government either enacted legislation forcing these companies to come to more remote areas with large containers so people can get rid of non hazardours waste not collectable by regular garbage collection, similiar to "clean-up" weeks in the city even if there was a nominal charge of say $5.00 or $10.00.

  • bnorman
    September 09, 2011 - 09:15

    Not condoning this at all, I think it’s terrible, but not surprising. The larger issue has to do with Government’s new waste management strategy. They shut down all the dumps without having a proper amount of drop-off depots. People will not drive up to an hour or more to drop off garbage, they will bring it to the end of the nearest woodsroad. Elsewhere in the province there are similar messes, we are going back to the 70s again, with fridges and beds tossed up in the woods. As the man taking care of the new regional dump for CBN said to me “there wasn't a problem until government come up with the solution”

  • wayne
    September 09, 2011 - 08:34

    This would be so easy to fix. Simply follow the model used in parts of the UK and US where there are multiple legal dump sites in an area. Not not multiple land fills but large dumpsters that are hauled to the landfill daily. Somebody from CBS or the Southern Shore is not going to drive to Robin Hood Bay when there is a convenient gravel pit or patch of woods. I KNOW that this behaviour is not right but it's human nature.

  • Robert Kirby
    September 09, 2011 - 08:02

    Dumping such garbage cannot be condoned but as usual there are two sides to the story. This spring while in the course of getting my daughter's property landscaped we discovered/dug up parts of essentially an entire vehicle. I have called several scrap metal places but nobody seems interested and the municipality specifically states it will not collect such "bulk" garbage. So what do I do with this garbage? I could pay to have it removed or simply dump it and eventually it will be discovered and dealt with. It should be just a simple phone call!!!

  • Chris
    September 09, 2011 - 07:43

    what a joke--call 311 and it will be cleaned up. I called 311 earlier this year and last year my brother spoke with a coucil member regaring the mess around all the roads that lead into Cochrane Pond--take a guess what? The mess is still in there, from a scrapped bus, to furniture, hot water boilers etc...If anyone is reading this from the city can you get it cleaned up?

    • Mary
      September 09, 2011 - 09:55

      And while we're talking about garbage, what about the nets we're supposed to put over our garbage, I've seen comforters, blankets,and tablecloths, and lots of kiddies bedding, blowing around St. John's all year round,I wonder if some of our visitors ever ( wonder) why all this is left crumpled up in wet bundles after winter has passed.

  • pogue mahone
    September 09, 2011 - 07:39

    Maybe if it wasn't so friggin difficult to get read of non-regular household garbage the city wouldn't have this problem. 2 bulk pickups a year, then you have to pay for it? Just yesterday, I put out a cardboard box from a baby crib and it was left there...... guess where it's going to end up?

    • jeff
      September 09, 2011 - 09:15

      And I have to agree with pogue mahone, if you have garbage you are basically stuck with it. the dump is locked up better than fort knox and has typical government hours!! I work all day and I leave the city on friday night to go to the cabon with the family. My only time to dump is evenings, when the dump is locked down. At least Newco recycling has the right idea. How many time have I dropped stuff off there in there front parking lot depo in the wee hours of the night. The dump should have some dumpsters out front every night that we could sump into after hours. then you wouldn't have to find a woods road somewhere to chuck it. Disgraceful on behalf of the managers at the dump. they are more concerned with policies and making everyone come during their certain hours. Guess what, average people can't come during their certain hours!!

    • mary
      September 09, 2011 - 21:06

      Pogue Mahone, you do not have to pay for bulk pick up in St. John's unless it is outside of the scheduled pick up times. I think 2 bulk pick up times are enough, might be a little inconvenient for some, but, in that case, call and pay if you want it picked up outside of the scheduled times. As for the cardboard box - gee, I don't suppose you thought of just tearing/cutting that into smaller pieces and putting it in a recyling bag????

  • David W
    September 09, 2011 - 07:39

    There are several of these around the city. I even had an employee of a company brag about it when the City landfill refused a load because metal was mixed with garbage. He said we won't separate that, we've got our spots to dump it as he laughed.

    September 09, 2011 - 07:34

    If it is city property why not get some community service out of the criminals locked up at HMP.

    • jeff
      September 09, 2011 - 09:10

      Excellent idea BEEAM !!! They are an un used labour force, them and welfare. I have to work eveyday to get paid and they get to sit around a drink while the taxpayers have to pay them and then hire people to clean up garbage at another expense. Again, excellent idea.

  • BR
    September 09, 2011 - 07:25

    Sadly this happens all over NL. It's not everybody doing it but the ones not doing it have to pay to clean up the mess.

    September 09, 2011 - 06:50

    Once again us so proud Newfies litter our own nest. This is a province wide problem, along with littering, we must be the dirtiest people in the country, no civic pride, just save a buck at some elses expense. If the land is privately owned the city should help the owner, what an expense some pig has left for another person to pick up. Our dirt that is everywhere is the shame of the province, and it isn't a government issue, it's a people problem, people do it not city or town councils and not the province, just the people who live here.

  • Resident
    September 09, 2011 - 06:49

    There's plenty of other sites around the province similar to this. Restricting access to logging roads and other areas where people tend to dump their garbage is one measure that will help reduce the practice. One other thing I've noticed is all these stores and businesses in outlying areas who instead of bringing their cardboard and paper to a recycling depot, now have these barrells and drums on the back of their businesses to burn all the cardboard. This is just as big a problem as illegal dumping.