Growing piles of roadside garbage in Penticton linked to overnight campers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Growing piles of roadside garbage in Penticton linked to overnight campers

Dozens of white kitchen garbage bags lay strewn along an embankment on a highway pullout north of Penticton on Highway 97.
June 15, 2021 - 7:30 AM

Increasing amounts of highway garbage could be a growing secondary issue rising from homeless campers as more and more people find themselves living out of RVs in today’s strained housing market.

It's already a problem in the bush as more and more people look to logging roads and Crown land to park their homes on wheels.

A cyclist riding into a highway pullout on Highway 97 north of Penticton late last week was distressed to find an inordinate amount of garbage piling up on an embankment beside a motorhome parked in the pullout.

In a message to iNFOnews.ca, the cyclist, who did not wish to be named, said, “I’m shocked the campers that are in this pullout, why they couldn’t clean it up… looks as if maybe they are just dumping there.”

The trash, comprised of dozens of white kitchen garbage bags, appeared to have been tossed down the embankment from an RV parked nearby. Not far from that RV is signage declaring the pullout off limits to camping and overnight parking.

A recreational vehicle parked in a pullout off Highway 97 north of Penticton.
A recreational vehicle parked in a pullout off Highway 97 north of Penticton.

Penticton RCMP detachment commander Supt. Brian Hunter says the RCMP generally don’t have the resources to deal with overnight campers, but says police have spoken with campers in the area who come and go on a very frequent basis. An officer was on patrol at the pullout late last week and did not see an RV parked in the pullout at the time.

Danielle Pope with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure media relations, says RCMP are responsible for enforcement of the no overnight camping edict, as well as for issuing fines for littering. Litter pick up is the responsibility of the ministry’s maintenance contracts, although the ministry’s Adopt-A-Highway program assists in keeping the province’s roads clean.

Pope said the ministry wasn’t aware of the litter at the pullout and would be asking their maintenance contractor to pick it up.

Anti-littering signs are posted on all main highways that read: $2,000 maximum penalty for littering. The policy is enforceable by police, as is overnight camping, Pope says.


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