March 26, 2019 6:59 pm
Updated: March 27, 2019 8:14 pm

UPDATE: ‘It’s disgusting’: Penticton Indian Band vows to crack down on illegal dumping

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UPDATE:

Penticton RCMP say they have discovered who was responsible for a recent illegal dumping incident on reserve land.

According to police, “that person took full responsibility and subsequently removed all the garbage from the property.”

Police added the officer is still considering any applicable federal charges that may be appropriate.

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Penticton Indian Band (PIB) is vowing to crack down on polluters after another recent incident of illegal dumping on reserve land.

Piles of garbage, including a chair, running shoes and goggles, were discovered off Old Airport Road earlier this week.

Shipping documents from Community Futures, a Penticton-based agency that provides economic development services to local business owners, were also clearly visible.

WATCH (October 2017): More enforcement and resources needed to curb illegal dumping near Penticton

General manager Anthony Mondia said the documents were tossed into an unlocked trash bin in January. He said he has no idea how they wound up at the illegal dump site.

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“I was unable to find any other recognizable items in the pile that could link it to our building or our tenants to it,” he told Global Okanagan after visiting the site.

READ MORE: ‘It’s endemic’: Illegal dumping in Edmonton caught on camera

Meanwhile, Joan Phillip, the band’s land manager, said she’s had enough of illegal dumpers who exploit the land to save a buck at the landfill.

“I think it’s pretty disgusting,” she said on Tuesday.

Phillip said 9,000 pounds of junk is collected every year, which requires around 2,000 man hours to clean up.

WATCH (May 2017): Efforts to catch people illegally dumping garbage in Okanagan forests being stepped up

She said the PIB wants to beef up fines for illegal dumpers.

“It’s one way of us putting up that kind of a deterrent,” Phillip said.

But first, the PIB must pursue a First Nations Land Management designation, which would allow the band to implement its own laws. The PIB is currently governed under the Indian Act, which imposes a fine of $50 for illegal dumping.

READ MORE: Vancouver has a $2M illegal dumping problem, and it’s only getting worse

“It’s definitely one of those annoying, aggravating issues,” said Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

He said legislative changes are needed to make it easier for bands to punish polluters.

“I think that would be helpful if we had the ability to enact tougher bylaws,” he said.

The PIB and RCMP continue to investigate while the band once again faces the costly task of cleaning up someone else’s mess.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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