Crown land used as dumping ground

Meadow Lake area resident Maurice Demmans examines some of the garbage dumped on provincial Crown land west of the city. Demmans, who lives near the area in question, said he would like to see the illegal dumping stop.

Meadow Lake area resident Maurice Demmans examines some of the garbage dumped on provincial Crown land west of the city. Demmans, who lives near the area in question, said he would like to see the illegal dumping stop.

by Phil Ambroziak

It’s sometimes said one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But, according to Meadow Lake area resident Maurice Demmans, it’s all junk.

For several years, Demmans has been growing increasingly concerned with the amount of garbage, including everything from broken down appliances to burned out cars, being illegally abandoned on a piece of Crown land known as Spruce Corner. The property is located off Range Road 3182 west of Meadow Lake.

“It’s a nice little place with a lot of pine and spruce trees,” Demmans said. “During the summer, a lot of people like to go there to pick blueberries. Unfortunately, a lot of people have also been dropping off their trash in there – everything from old dishwashers, stoves, sinks – you have to see it to believe it. It’s a hell of a mess.”

While he isn’t sure when the area first became a dumping area for what he believes are people too cheap to pay the necessary costs involved with disposing of the items properly, Demmans said he first started to notice the problem about five years ago.

“It seems as though, instead of paying the $25 or whatever it costs to take an old refrigerator to the dump, people just bring it here, throw it off the back of their truck and think no one is going to notice,” Demmans continued. “I live about four miles from here and think it’s a real eyesore.”

Demmans doesn’t know how much of an impact, if any, the garbage could have on the environment, but he also doesn’t think it’s right and would like to see the province put a stop to the issue before the entire area evolves into a junkyard.

“There is a sign posted as you enter the area stating it’s illegal to dump and whoever is caught doing so will face a $1,000 fine,” Demmans noted.

According to Glen Kurjata, a conservation officer with the provincial Ministry of Environment, signs such as the one described by Demmans are commonly posted in areas where the government has been made aware of illegal dumping in the past.

“Every year we get calls from people who have concerns about garbage and other waste being dumped in rural areas,” Kurjata said.

Kurjata also said, when conducting an investigation into illegal dumping, the ministry takes the time to go through every piece of garbage in an attempt to identify potential culprits.
“It can be very difficult, but we have had some success,” he said. “This past spring, there were three locations where household garbage was dumped and, through our investigations, we were able to find some names and successfully prosecute these individuals.”

Now that he’s aware of the concerns raised about the Spruce Corner area, Kurjata said the ministry will be looking into those items there to see what can be done.

“Unfortunately, many people do litter, scar the land and possibly cause environmental damage,” he added.

As for Demmans, he said he will continue to frequent the area even though he’s disappointed with how some people choose to treat Mother Nature.
“I’m not proud of what’s happened there,” Demmans said.

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