EDITORIAL: Battling trash in the bush is getting harder

EDITORIAL: Battling trash in the bush is getting harder

Being homeless does not absolve people of having a responsibility to the wider community

Homeless camps are adding a whole new dimension to the problem of illegal dumping on Vancouver Island.

Illegal dumping of trash in the bush has long been a thorn in the side of local governments and residents. There seems to be a group of skinflints who feel they should be able to dump their garbage wherever they want, without consequence, rather than pay the usually relatively small fee at one of the Valley’s transfer stations to have it properly disposed of.

The crazy thing is that by the time they gas up their truck or other large vehicle, drive it out to a remote location and offload their debris they probably haven’t saved a penny. And they’ve created an environmental hazard and an eyesore to plague the whole community. It’s an all-around crummy thing to do.

But another problem has been growing in the last three to four years, according to residents who like to walk some of the well-used trails around Duncan. Homeless people are setting up temporary camps in various locations off the trails, then just abandoning them for whatever reason, leaving behind garbage, feces, drug paraphernalia, tents, tarps and other detritus.

These are just as much a blight on our unparalleled wilderness as the abandoned construction debris and household goods left behind by conventional longtime dumpers.

We don’t think anyone begrudges someone who doesn’t have somewhere warm and dry to sleep setting up a campsite in the woods off a trail to try to create some meagre shelter and sense of home. This does also tend to demonstrate some of the reasons why some of these folks are so hard to house. Abandoned campsites can be a symptom of the same challenges and limitations that have led to their homelessness in the first place.

But it’s infuriating when the camper then leaves behind a pile of garbage that becomes a public problem. Being homeless does not absolve people of having a responsibility to the wider community.


Just Posted

Tim Sutherland Sr. likes to go down to Harbour Quay and feel the breeze on his face. On stormy days when the wind whips the rain into his face, he thinks of his son Tim Sutherland Jr., and wonders whether he is warm and dry. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Finding shelter from the storm

Search for housing a journey of false hope for Alberni father and adult son

A sign at the entrance to Ty-Histanis asks visitors to stay out of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Nuu-chah-nulth nations on Vancouver Island hit hard by COVID-19

Eight nations dealing with positive tests, hospitalizations and death

Port Renfrew lies within the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Could the town be B.C.’s next municipality? CRD director Mike Hicks is considering it. (File - Portrenfrew.com)
Rural Island official upset municipalities get 25 times the amount of COVID-19 relief

CRD director ‘almost speechless’ as Juan de Fuca receives small amount of COVID bailout money

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
New restrictions unmasking Vancouver Island’s belligerent

Businesses recount customer anger about mask edict, as police pledge fines and enforcement

The president and chief executive officer of BC Ferries promises additional reviews to help sustain BC Ferries. (Black Press Media File)
BC Ferries to review expenditures following 43 per cent passenger drop in 2020

Promise from CEO follows new figures showing significant decline in passengers

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

BC Transit confirmed on Dec. 1 that a Langford employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy of BC Transit)
Langford transit worker tests positive for COVID-19

Island Health is conducting contact tracing for the case

Island Health is expanding COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo with a new testing location at Vancouver Island University. (News Bulletin file photo)
Island Health expands COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo

Health authority opens new testing site with double the capacity at Vancouver Island University

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for Colwood man last seen in September

Geoffrey Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

North Island mayors say their voices should be heard by DFO before final decisions are made about fish farms. (Black Press file photo)
North Island mayors asking to be let in on fish farm consultations

DFO evaluating 18 Discovery Island fish farms and transitioning from open-net farms

Most Read