Fed up with what he calls the “mucky” conditions at waste disposal sites, one South Shuswap resident has declared he will burn his garbage until the Columbia Shuswap Regional District deals with the mud and potholes.
“I’ve been burning for some time now – where I live I can. I burn because I don’t want to drive my $50,000 car in to mucky pot-hole filled yards,” Chris Murray wrote in an email on the morning of April to CSRD Environmental Health Services Team Leader Ben Van Nostrand. “I will give it a bit of time and take some more pictures and prove to you you’re not fixing your yards.”
Murray wrote that he had asked the regional district about the issue this last year and was told the issue would be addressed.
In response, Van Nostrand explained the regional district spends thousands of dollars every year to try and maintain access to landfill sites and recycling depots, and that potholes are an annual problem.
He says gravel was applied to the Sorrento recycling depot last Wednesday and at Tappen on Thursday, and he expects Skimikin will be gravelled by the end of this month.
Later in the day, after visiting a site, Murray sent another email, this time accompanied by photos and copied to the Observer as well.
In his email, he maintains the Skimikin site manager allegedly told him the regional district “does not pay a dime” at the site.
“She (has) been asking for the place to be gravelled for some time and for them to make it so the water does not run down the hill and around the green bins making a big mess,” writes Murray. “All you did was bring a half a truck load of gravel to them and said when they had the time to fill in the holes, and she said they don’t have the time to do that.”
Van Nostrand says mud and potholes are part of an annual maintenance issue, which the regional district addresses with a maintenance budget of $125,000 for four landfill sites and eight transfer stations in the regional district.
“We’re gonna get potholes and when things start to dry out, that’s when we bring in the equipment and gravel,” he says, noting gravel was applied at the recycling depot in Sorrento last week. “Yes, they are dirt roads; no, they are not paved, but the level of expectation has to match the resources, the budget and the costs.”
Van Nostrand says users could have paved roads – if they’re willing to pay more for tipping fees.
“Does he want his tipping fees to be $50 a bag? That’s what I am up against and these are things I have to maintain,” he says. “I’m trying to not raise taxes and fees and still deliver suitable service.
In response to being told tipping fees will increase, Murray believes people will start to pile up their garbage, which will attract wildlife.
“I myself just take one bag to the dump, (from) time to time and I will not pay five “bux” a bag. You guys got to give your heads a good shake – you’re out of your minds.”
As to Murray’s determination to continue to burn his waste, Van Nostrand offers this caution:
“I don’t advise doing that as it would put you in violation of the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Management Act. “