Doug Cook is always looking for some great scenery to photograph. But there was nothing picturesque about the mess he found on Lady Slipper Road this week.
The photographer and tour guide was walking his dog Tuesday along the backcountry road just west of Corner Brook. It is a fairly typical form of exercise for the Corner Brook man and his pet. Unfortunately, illegal dumping is also familiar.
The unsightly messes in this area have been a problem for years, but Cook feels there has been an increase since the landfill in Wild Cove adopted its new electronic pay system.
About 1.5 kilometres in the road often used by walkers, all-terrain vehicle operators and anglers, there was furniture and other household items dumped along with clothes and regular everyday garbage like cans and bottles.
Cook described it as looking like somebody emptied an apartment there.
Off in a different area of Lady Slipper Road was another pile of garbage. Within this mess was stuffed animals, clothes, insulation and other discarded household items.
“It is just disgusting,” he said. “It is pure laziness, as far as I am concerned.”
While he has seen garbage in the area before, he said it has been more of a problem recently.
The Western Regional Waste Management authority implemented an electronic card pay system at the Wild Cove landfill site earlier this year. People are being charged at a base rate of $40.12 — which translates into roughly $10 per half-tonne pickup truck’s partial load.
“What they are charging is pennies,” Cook said. “All they hear is it will cost them money so they won’t go (to the landfill). The dollar signs roll up, and they don’t figure out how much it is actually going to cost.”
Adding to Cook’s concern is people have been catching the discarded items on fire. There are a number of piles of charred remnants around the heavily forested area.
He would like to see cameras set up to catch the culprits. He expects the illegal dumping will continue until people start getting caught and fined.
Within the garbage, there was a Newfoundland Power contract with the identity and personal information of a man. When contacted, he denied responsibility, claiming no knowledge of how it got there. He said he moved at least twice in the past couple of years.
Western Regional Waste Management authority board chair Don Downer, who previously said he expected there may be an increase in illegal dumping as a result of the new system, said there has been no evidence there actually has been. He said he has gotten very few complaints — noting Lady Slipper Road was inundated with garbage during the same time last year.
“People are beginning to change their view on the fee that is being charged,” he said.