An historic site in Victoria is continuously overwhelmed with garbage.
Point Ellice House, at 2616 Pleasant Street is a 19th century home that now acts as a museum.
But every weekend people leave household and industrial trash on the curb, kitty-corner to the house’s main entrance.
“It’s everything. Hot water tanks, cans of paint, bags of household garbage,”said Kelly Black, executive director of Point Ellice House. “Today we had a pile of what looks like broken bicycles and old oil barrels.”
The trash has continuously piled up every weekend for years.
While it doesn’t block people from accessing the site, it paints an unappealing scene for visitors.
“We operate an historic site talking about the history of Victoria,” said Black. “Unfortunately, along with that visitors are getting a lesson in people’s waste disposal habits.”
Point Ellice House is in an industrial neighbourhood at a dead end street, and shares the neighbourhood with disposal and recycling services like HL Disposal and Emterra.
“Part of the issue is we’re surrounded by waste transfer sites,” Black said. “They do a good job, but because they’re our neighbours people who don’t want to pay, or who don’t understand what they can dispose of, think they can just leave their trash there.”
Neighbouring businesses have surveillance footage that can capture some of the trash ditchers in the act, but not every time.
The City of Victoria is aware of the situation, and confirmed an ongoing file to tackle the problems at this location. The city’s bylaw services and public works department has been picking up the garbage.
“We have been working on clearing the space and installing new signage to deter illegal dumping, [and] working with the owners of the metal recycling depot to curtail this,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement, in an email after consulting the City of Victoria’s bylaw services. “We have written tickets (a $200 fine) for dumpers where licence plates were obtained.”
Each time city staff are called away from other duties it’s an expense, Eisenhauer noted. Additionally, dumping fees at proper disposal sites cost $110 per metric tonne. A small load, such as the pile of broken bicycles that Black referred to, would cost approximately $25.
“We’ve been working with the city bylaw services, and they’ve been doing a great job to monitor it when they can, but it only does so much,” Black said. “We’re at a loss of what we can do next. We’re a small, non-profit society and we don’t have the capacity to deal with household and industrial waste.”