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Security firm to help patrol James A. Gifford Causeway in Selwyn Township

The James A. Gifford Causeway is a fishing hotspot but it's also becoming an eyesore as litter is being left behind.
The James A. Gifford Causeway is a fishing hotspot but it's also becoming an eyesore as litter is being left behind. Jesse Thomas / CHEX TV

A security firm will be hired to help address littering along the James A. Gifford Causeway in Selwyn Township.

On Wednesday, Peterborough County Council approved staff recommendations to tackle nuisance littering along the causeway, which spans Chemong Lake and links the communities of Bridgenorth and Ennismore.

READ MORE: Peterborough County to tackle garbage pileup, safety issues along James A. Gifford Causeway

The area is a hotspot for both local and visiting anglers. Concerns about littering were highlighted last August by area resident Brad Sinclair. Just two days after a thorough cleaning, Sinclair once again found litter scattered everywhere again.

Chris Bradley, the county’s Director of Public Works, says security will be occasionally hired during expected peak fishing times to ask anglers to move from the areas between the exterior guardrails.

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“We are optimistic that the folks who come to the area to enjoy recreational activities will be able to do it in a bit of a safer environment than what we had before,” he said. “This should enable us to keep the area a little cleaner.”

Other recommendations include increasing the frequency of litter collection (three times a week from May to October); launching a new communication/awareness campaign and posting new and improved signage to direct anglers to areas that are safe and maintained by county staff.

The recommendations came as part of county staff consultations with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Parks Canada and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

However, Bradley notes there will not be a no-trespassing bylaw for the causeway. In December, county staff met with lawyers, who highlighted the challenges of developing and enforcing a no-trespassing bylaw.

READ MORE: Long weekend attracts hundreds to Chemong Lake for free ice fishing

Lawyers indicated that municipal bylaw enforcement officers do not have the authority to compel people to identify themselves verbally or to provide identification. As a result, tickets can’t be issued to an unidentified person and a bylaw could not be enforced.

A staff report notes lawyers recommended that “no trespassing” signage can still be posted near the prohibited areas (exterior guardrails) and that a police officer can be contacted to charge an individual.

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“We don’t want to be in a position where we are issuing tickets. What we want people to do is to voluntarily comply,” Bradley said.

But on Facebook, Sinclair was critical of the county’s announcement. He called it a “sad day” for the community, predicting the plan will fail for having “zero teeth.”

“Cost seems to be the issue again,” he said.

“We live with the other costs — that’s people on the causeway littering and endangering themselves and other people driving. This was never meant to be a fishing platform — it’s a driving platform and I think we got to start looking at it that way.”

The county’s plan will cost $27,000.

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