When long-time Lake Country resident Vince Sedmak pulled into his regular spot along Pelmewash Parkway to try his luck at fishing, the first thing he noticed was an ugly pile of garbage thrown down an embankment.
A pile of wood, gyproc and insulation was strewn about on a steep bank leading down to Wood Lake, some of it in the water and all of it appearing to be remnants of a renovation, where someone had decided to use the parkway as a dump as opposed to traveling to the Glenmore landfill.
“This is supposed to be the start of our greenway,” said Sedmak standing amidst the rubble, which he was going to clean up himself and take to the dump.
“They might as well have dumped that in my living room. I’ll grab some of my own stuff and make it a dump run. The worst thing about this is they have all these signs around (warning of fines) but I don’t know anyone who has heard of someone being fined for dumping.”
Indeed, just metres from the pile of junk was a sign warning that dumping of trash was illegal, however Sedmak said he doubted people cared about that and noted he has seen plenty of illegal trash thrown about on Pelmewash and on Beaver Lake Road.
“Until someone gets caught they’re going to keep doing it,” he said.
Catching someone in the act of illegal dumping could be the key to stopping it. According to Lake Country RCMP constable Ryan Putt, police can issue a bylaw ticket with fines levied going back to the district, or more serious charges of mischief, if they are able to prove illegal dumping.
But the key is in witness reports to give police something to go on.
“We have a suspect and are able to locate them, then we can issue a ticket,” said constable Putt. “But we need a suspect. Either police roll up on it or someone calls us or bylaw. We would need a license plate or any identifying marks on the vehicle.”
If the ticket were issued, a witness would have to provide the details as police attempted to prove the charge in court.
Lake Country Coun. Owen Dickie said there is little doubt parts of Pelmewash are a mess and have been for years with trash thrown about.
Each year the regional district targets Pelmewash as part of its community clean up project.
More recently Dickie said he drove Beaver Lake Road and noticed a bunch of garbage along the road. He said he will bring the issue up to see if there are ways the district could help, maybe with a dumpster located in certain areas.
But for Sedmak, who cleaned up the mess and will likely clean up after people again in the future, he says the issue is getting worse and will continue to do so until those who are doing it are properly punished.
“I lose my faith in humanity when I see this,” he said. “I know there are a lot of good people around but when you see this it just erases everything. This is everybody’s problem, but most people think it’s someone else’s job to pick it up.”
If you see illegal dumping, take down a license plate, note anything specific and report it to the RCMP or the District of Lake Country.