Smile, you’re on hidden camera

Colin MacLean
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C.B.S. surveillance getting results: mayor

A man from Conception Bay South was recently charged under the Environmental Protection Act for illegal dumping. The man is due in court June 19. The charges were laid after two men were observed by a hidden camera while dumping waste in a wooded area of C.B.S. — Submitted photo

The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” would appear to be apt in this case.

Two men parked off a secluded backroad get out of their truck and toss trash from their vehicle bed onto the ground.

But little did the pair know they were being recorded by a hidden camera.

A fine worth a few thousand dollars later and they’re probably wishing they’d gone to a proper dump like everybody else, said Conception Bay South Mayor Woodrow French.

“It’s a dumb thing to do,” French said.

About a year ago, C.B.S. purchased several surveillance cameras to help crack down on rampant illegal dump sites in the community.

Wednesday the town announced it has, to date, successfully laid charges against and prosecuted five illegal dumpers, thanks to the cameras.

“For us, it validates the use of the equipment. ... The other opportunity is to walk the talk for the town in the fact that if we catch you littering, or we catch you illegally dumping materials, we’re going to prosecute you. No ifs, ands or buts,” said French.

That’s encouraging news for St. John’s Coun. Tom Hann.

“I don’t think there’s a member of council that has not received a complaint from some area of the city where dumping has been taking place. We’ve all been getting the calls,” said Hann.

Hann has been one of the more vocal councillors when it comes to complaining about illegal dumps in the city. About a year ago, he put forward a motion asking council to look at following the example of C.B.S and buying its own security cameras.

The research work was done on that option, but it never got off the ground, Hann said Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Hann suggested at a council meeting a bounty should be offered for information leading to the arrest of illegal dumpers. That discussion evolved to the point where the city decided to issue a request for proposals from security firms to patrol well-known dump sites.

The deadline for proposals was May 18. City staff will now evaluate the submissions and issue a recommendation to council in the next month.

When the matter makes it before council Hann expects councillors to have both the video camera and patrol options before them.

Both options have their pros and cons and will likely get results, he said.

“Really, I don’t care. Whatever council decides to do. What I want is to get something going to stop (dumping),” he said.

The fact C.B.S. seems to be having success with its program is encouraging, he added.

“I’m glad C.B.S. has had the success that they’ve had with the cameras. And again, if it only acts as a deterrent, if we can’t solve the problem, but you cut down on the amount of garbage being dropped in the countryside, then at least we’ve accomplished something.”

Coun. Wally Collins, chairman of the public works, environment and protection standing committee said in a previous news release that paying for some kind of surveillance was likely the best way to help curb dumping.

“We see pictures over and over where people have dumped rubbish and building materials in either remote areas or open spaces in our city and this is completely unacceptable, particularly when we have a convenient, modern waste management facility at Robin Hood Bay,” he said in a previous interview.

“The costs involved in cleaning these areas are high, particularly if you have to deal with chemical/petroleum leaks of any kind, which can be very harmful to the environment.”

French said he would wholeheartedly recommend surveillance cameras as a dumping deterrent to St. John’s or any other municipality with this problem.

Buying the cameras cost the town somewhere in the area of $5,000.

Money well spent, said French; despite the fact that it will never put a complete stop the practice of illegal dumping.  

 “Unfortunately in the society that we live in there’s people out there who really don’t care and they’re going to pollute regardless of what you do. But we’re hoping that we’re going deter people,” he said.

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean

With Telegram files

Geographic location: Conception Bay, Robin Hood Bay

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Recent comments

  • Cathy
    May 24, 2012 - 11:40

    Gotta luv the entitlement mentality. Responsibility is a dirty word. (sarcasm)

  • Jon
    May 24, 2012 - 11:32

    Tell us their names....then we can all go and dump our garbage on their lawns. Just sayin'.

  • Robert
    May 24, 2012 - 11:21

    Good job on catching these lazy good for nothings! But I must wonder why their faces and names have not been published; perhaps there is a technical reason and it would be good to know. However, since this was an adult (old enough to have a driver's licence) why was the most effective way to stop this sort of thing not utilized? As a tax payer I will now have to pay to put these jerks through the legal system, the cameras used to catch them as well as cleaning up the mess they left behind! Punishment is a wonderful thing but in cases such as this one "prevention" must be the prime objective!

  • W Bagg
    May 24, 2012 - 10:22

    Check out the big yellow light on the truck probably contractors working under the table and not able to leave a paper trail by getting a contractors permit from Robin Hood Bay dump Notify EI & CRA

  • The truth hurts
    May 24, 2012 - 10:12

    I can guarantee you these losers will blame everybody else but themselves. They will blame the media, the city, their spouses…..the list will go on and on. Then, when it comes time to have this case heard in court, they will most likely plead not guilty. As far as they are concerned, they have done nothing wrong. You can’t cure stupid.

  • From St john,s
    May 24, 2012 - 09:55

    There should be an example made of these guys,their truck should be taken so they can,t even haul garbage anymore,they should be fined the max of $10.000, Not only the driver his helper there should also get the same fine.better yet make them walk the roads and pick up all the's not only in CBS , St John,s certainly has the same problems,only yesterday I was driving Water St West.a truck in front of me pulling a pile of sheet medal on it when a piece of it flew of,no tailgate on the truck,not covered,if it had hit a person it would have sliced them open big time.Come council bring in a bylaw to have people secure their garbage properly.You see this all the time in the downtown area.And yes the people should know who this scum are on camera.

  • Telegrump
    May 24, 2012 - 09:41

    The only way people are going to take illegal dumping seriously is if they know by doing it, they have something significant to lose. Up to $1k in fines and hidden identity is not a major lose for most... especially contractors that will just tack it on to the cost of their work somehow. In the end the client pays this $1k. Adding a heftier fine won't necessary solve this solution, nor can we rely on the cameras given the fact that people are now more aware of the cameras and we have lots of deserted areas in NL. SHOW THEIR FACES. A lot cheaper than cameras. You can guarantee the one used to take this photo won't last long.

  • David
    May 24, 2012 - 09:37

    Handing out fines for illegal dumping will be as effective as fines for Vehicle infractions. I also agree with one poster on publishing names and faces.

  • feed up
    May 24, 2012 - 09:33

    Why didn't they show the face,s of the [men] who were dumping the garbage so every would know who they are

  • Ramona
    May 24, 2012 - 08:41

    People please !! ... appreciate the beautiful nature that you as Newfoundlanders are so lucky to have !! If you don't preserve it .. you will destroy it :( It is not as if there are no other options to get rid of your garbage !!??

  • David
    May 24, 2012 - 08:16

    So, the next guy now knows to go somewhere else to dump his stuff....well done! BTW, how many cameras do think it will take to cover....well, everywhere?

    • David
      May 24, 2012 - 09:47

      Heck, what was I thinking when I posted that !? That $5000 camera is almost certainly out of service or 'missing' now. As you were, everyone.

  • Elizabeth
    May 24, 2012 - 08:04

    Don't hide their faces from the public. Let everyone know who they are. Publish their names and photos. Why not?

  • Tax Payer
    May 24, 2012 - 07:27

    The mayor should get the people that work for CBS town council to go and clean up these areas from garbage. Everywhere you look there is a moutain of illegal garbage that was dumped, I can name a few places that people have called in and nothing has been done to clean it up. Th epeople that work for the town should get off their butts and get out there to clean up the garbage. Ya, you want to catch these people but the mayor isn't ording anybody to go out that works for him to clean it up! IT NEEDS TO BE CLEANED UP!! What is CBS tax payers paying for???!!!

    • CBS Resident
      May 24, 2012 - 09:03

      Taxpayer, why would Town Employees have to clean this up. Make the dumpers clean up their own mess. PS. The people that work for this town work for the TOWN, not for the idiots who are illegal dumpers. You seem to know where there are a few places of garbage, why dont you do something productive and clean it up yourself.

  • It's about time
    May 24, 2012 - 07:08

    Garbage dumping garbage. It's too bad that their faces can't be published, the community deserves to know who the pigs amongst them are. Kudo's to the town for this innovative solution. I hope that they get a cut of the fines to help pay for more cameras.

  • Newf
    May 24, 2012 - 07:06

    Hopefully this moron will get charge and have to pay the max penalty....That will pay for the cameras !!!!

  • kent
    May 24, 2012 - 06:59

    Good, I hope they are fined heavily and hopefully it will send a message to other other lazy slobs who little our landscape.