Violation tickets handed out for illegal dumping as concerned citizens help B.C. conservation officers catch perpetrators | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Violation tickets handed out for illegal dumping as concerned citizens help B.C. conservation officers catch perpetrators

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A number of people are currently under investigation and could be facing fines of up to $1 million and six months in jail for dumping garbage and yard waste illegally in the forests around Kelowna.

Fines for basic littering start at $115 and, if a person is summoned to court, they could be fined up to $2,000 and sent to jail for six months, North Okanagan conservation officer Sgt. Jeff Hanratty told

“Litter is intended for small amounts – a person who throws fast food wrappers out,” he said. “When we’re dealing with truck loads of waste, or trailer loads of waste, we’re dealing with larger volumes. That’s going to be Section 6.3 of the Environment Management Act. The ticket for that one is going to be $575 and, were we to summon someone to court, the potential court outcome is $1 million and six months in jail.”

He did not have information on what tickets have been issued but over the past few weeks his office has issued five warning tickets and another five provincial violation tickets.

“They’ve been for truckloads of waste, trailer loads of waste, landscaping debris,” Hanratty said. “That’s waste generated from running a business. It’s not in the littering ballpark. It’s a more substantial violation and consequently the penalties are much higher."

There are also eight ongoing investigations.

READ MORE: Hidden cameras in Okanagan forests lead to more than a dozen garbage dumping fines

This is a significant increase over past years in the number of tickets issued, Hanratty said, noting that's due to public pressure and an increased number of complaints being filed.

Quite a few of the investigations have been for landscaping waste. Many of those are in the lower area of the Gillard Creek Forest Service Road but it happens all over the region, he said.

“We have some additional eyes and ears on that area,” Hanratty said. “Subsequently, recently, most of our violations have been coming from that area, both from the citizens and from the (Okanagan Forest Task Force).”

READ MORE: Okanagan forest cleanup crew pulls 29,100 pounds of illegally dumped metal from the bush

The Okanagan Forest Task Force recently said it has video from hidden web cams of a number of illegal dumping operations that have resulted in a number of tickets.

Hanratty couldn’t comment on the value of that footage since he’s not a frontline officer and has not seen the video but did says individuals have also been keeping an eye out.

“We certainly appreciate their efforts of late,” he said. "We’ve received some pretty good information including vehicle descriptions, licence plates, photos of material on its way in and photos of the material after it’s been dumped and photos of the vehicle leaving the scene empty.”

What they’re seeing is a wide range of materials.

READ MORE: 20,000 lbs. of metal hauled away from West Kelowna's Bull Mountain

“Recent ones involved a couch, building debris, landscaping debris, used and junk lumber, rotten wood waste, pressure treated ties, bags of household garbage, garbage from cleanups from moves, that sort of thing,” Hanratty said.

The Okanagan Forest Task Force has made a number of hauls of garbage out of the forest this year, often in areas along Beaver Lake and Postil Lake Roads.

It also helped remove 20,000 pounds of metal from the forest around Bull Mountain near West Kelowna.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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