Cache of trash tossed at roadside

The annual spring thaw reveals a lot of unpleasant things.Joggers see more of it than anybody. Because of that, they are highly motivated to do something about it.Berni Kerr, of Port Dover, raised the alarm last week when she discovered a large cache of trash along a creek near the intersection of St. John Road East and Marburg Road.A member of the Port Dover Athletics running club, Kerr decided to clean it up. She loaded her van with garbage bags full of trash, three of which consisted of used diapers. Norfolk’s waste transfer station on Fourteenth Street in Simcoe accepted the cargo free of charge.“When I go running in British Columbia, I can go for miles and miles without seeing a Tim Hortons cup or a water bottle,” she said.“They don’t treat nature the way we do here. I can’t bring myself not to do something.”The Athletics aren’t the only ones picking up trash. Members of the North Shore Runners in Port Dover also like a clean countryside. They mount periodic collections where circumstances warrant.Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesperson for the Norfolk OPP, said anyone caught dumping illegally could end up with a criminal record. Under Norfolk bylaw, the fine for this offence is $175. There is also the possibility of trespassing charges. Ideally, anyone suspecting illegal dumping should try to capture the culprit on video.“Once you capture them on camera, there’s no refuting the evidence,” Sanchuk said.Where possible, write down the vehicle licence number, a description of the vehicle, and a description of the people engaged in this activity. Do not approach them as they will know what they are doing is a crime.Norfolk staff will clean up illegal dump sites if they are on municipal property. Otherwise, it is up to private property owners to be vigilant for suspicious activity and report it to police when they see it.“It is heartbreaking to see this happen,” Chris Baird, Norfolk’s general manager of public works, said. “It is an ongoing challenge, for sure, even though we do everything possible to provide affordable and convenient disposal programs throughout the year. Yet this still persists. All taxpayers pay the brunt.”Illegal dumpers tend to be careless in more ways than one.Several years ago, a big load of scrap furniture, appliances and trash was thrown into a ditch along a gravel road near Delhi. Municipal staff sent to clean it up found mail in a garbage bag that helped police track down the culprit.For her part, Kerr would like area businesses to team up with local running clubs to sponsor road-side clean-up programs.“Something has to be done,” she said. “This is everywhere.”[email protected]