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Okanagan non-profit finds another illegal dumpsite on backcountry road

Non-profit group finds another dumpsite in the Okanagan
The Okanagan Forest Task Force said it found a massive illegal dumping site that appears to be decades old.

An Okanagan non-profit organization says it has found a massive illegal dumping site that appears to be decades old.

“(We) came across an enormous dump site that dates back to the 40s,” said Kane Blake, Okanagan Forest Task Force’s founder.

“(It’s) been buried, re-dumped and is layered as far down as I can see.” 

Blake said the area that the garbage is sitting on is a watershed for the surrounding community.

“(The garbage) needs to come (out). This is a protected watershed, this is people’s drinking water, wildlife drinking water, as well as the cattle up here.”

Read more: Okanagan Forest Task Force removes 37,000 pounds of material from backcountry

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The Okanagan Forest Task Force says the dumping site is filled with hazardous material but it can’t begin cleanups without government approval.

“Because it’s a watershed, we just can’t bring equipment in here to disrupt the ground,” Blake told Global News on Saturday.

“It could cause a potential mudslide later on. We need the proper approvals.”

The dumping site on Beaver Lake Road in Lake Country is littered with old bottles, construction materials, mechanical parts, oil cans and other metals and materials.

Read more: Hikers from Langley rescued by helicopter near James Lake, B.C.

The Okanagan Forest Task Force said it found the dumping site during a cleanup last weekend.

The massive cleanup on July 25 saw the non-profit group, with the help of some local businesses and volunteers, haul over 20,000 pounds of material out of the Okanagan backcountry.

“We pulled out three burnt-out vehicles, thousands of pounds of metal,” said Blake.

“Actually, it was 13,000 pounds of metal and 10,000 pounds of garbage.”

Read more: Hikers from Langley rescued by helicopter near James Lake, B.C.

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Blake says the cleanups would not be as successful as they are without the support from the community.

“The community stepped up huge on our last cleanup on Saturday. We had a great turnout.”

Blake says about 100 volunteers showed up to help at the last cleanup.

Since the creation of the Okanagan Forest Task Force in 2016, the group says it has removed over 230,000 pounds of illegally dumped materials in the Okanagan backcountry.

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