Garbage abandoned on the streets of Vancouver is a problem that is now costing taxpayers about $1 million a year.
The most common item left on city property — mattresses.
The city collected 6,450 of them last year, three times as many as a decade ago.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the changing demographics in the city where we have a lot more people who don’t have cars so they’re not sure…how to get their mattress to the transfer station,” Albert Shamess of the City of Vancouver said.
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The number of 311 calls to the city about abandoned garbage has tripled in five years, from just under 5,000 in 2010 to more than 16,500 in 2015. During that same time, the amount of garbage collected by the city increased from 1,956 tonnes to 2,465 tonnes.
Ten years ago the city collected 2,797 pieces of furniture. Last year, the total was 9,185.
The City of Vancouver has already increased fines for illegal dumping from $2,000 to $10,000.
“I think in the long term, what we’d like see is more… responsibility for dealing with these materials,” Shamess said. “The stewardship program like we have for all of these other materials — for tires, for electronics — that would be the ideal way to go.”
– With files from Ted Chernecki