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Updated: 7th January 2019 06:18

Cameras eyed to catch illegal dumpers on country roads

Alberta's Municipal District of Foothills says it needs to ramp up its fight against people who dump garbage along country roads.

Is the countryside southwest of Calgary becoming a dumping ground for garbage? 2:12

Alberta's Municipal District of Foothills says it needs to ramp up its fight against people who dump garbage along country roads.

The rural council is considering purchasing two cameras that could rotate to popular spots among dumpers.

The cameras would have infrared capabilities to capture video at night.

The fine for illegal dumping in Foothills is $125, but council would like to bring that way up — maybe even to $5,000.

The M.D. has just removed three loads of garbage from the edge of rancher Doug Fraser's property.

Rancher Doug Fraser stands where someone left a pile of garbage big enough to fill half a dump truck on his property outside Okotoks, Alta. (Mary-Catherine McIntosh/CBC)

"I get very upset because people are being very disrespectful of the property and the countryside," he said. "I mean, it's beautiful."

Fraser says the most recent pile of garbage dropped on the edge of his rolling ranch would fill half a dump truck.

"In this pile of garbage here was an abandoned barbecue and a couple of old chairs, so why would you do this?" he asked.

Witnesses needed to charge illegal dumpers

This pile of garbage was found in the ditch of a rural road in the Municipal District of Foothills. (Submitted by M.D. of Foothills)

The load sure ticked off Fraser and his neighbour, who rooted through a bag of it and found a pizza receipt with a cell phone number. When he called it up he was hung up on.

While suspicious, there is no chance of a fine anyway because no one saw the illegal dumping taking place.

"The difficulty for us though is we need to be able to prove who dumped the garbage," said peace officer Darlene Roblin.

"Even when we find personal items, perhaps mail, that has a identifying name and address."

She said they often see spikes in illegal dumping in the spring.

"You have to make this a serious offence," said Fraser.

M.D. Reeve Larry Spilak doesn’t need to be convinced that illegal dumping is a problem that needs to be addressed.

"It makes me really mad," as he surveys another popular dump zone, one he says could be the site of a camera should council move on that.

"Often I'll be driving throughout the M.D. and you'll see fridges dropped in the ditches, stoves, plastic bags of garbage," he said.

The cost in Foothills to dump legally at the landfill is $5. Spilak said council hopes to make a decision on both the cameras and whether to raise the dumping fine in the next two weeks.

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