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Halifax council aims to crack down on illegal dumping with beefed-up bylaw

Click to play video: 'Halifax council looking to strengthen illegal dumping bylaws' Halifax council looking to strengthen illegal dumping bylaws
HRM looking to crack down on illegal dumping with beefed-up litter bylaw – Apr 5, 2021
Halifax city council is looking to strengthen its illegal dumping and litter bylaws in order to crack down on nuisance polluters.
The new by-laws would beef up enforcement measures, giving peace officers more leverage to ticket, fine, and prosecute those found to be in violation of the bylaw and those found to be tossing waste illegally.
Each spring when the snow melts it reveals a sight unseen, the build-up of trash and litter. District 2 councillor David Hendsbee has seen enough.

“Littering and illegal dumping has been a scourge to this municipality for many years, especially in any of the backgrounds in rural Halifax, you’ll find illegal dumps anywhere,” said Hendsbee, who represents the areas of Preston, Chezzetcook, and Eastern Shore.

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Every spring, community volunteers and schools gather to clean up spots in and around the Halifax Regional Municipality,  like a section of roadway along Upper Governor Road which has been plagued by illegal dumping for years.

“It’s got to stop,” said Hendsbee, who surveys the roadway and shoulder, which is littered with items ranging from household waste to bags of clothing, used care tired and used furniture.

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“There’s no need for this, it’s very frustrating,” said Hendsbee. “A lot of this material is things that could be put on the curb for garbage and recycling pickup.”

Large parts of the newly proposed amendments to the  “Illegal Dumping and Litter Abatement” bylaw deal with enhancing enforcement powers by allowing enforcement staff, such as municipal compliance and diversion officer, the same ability to issue fines or lay charges as police officers can do under the Nova Scotia Environment Act.

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The report states this will help put the municipality in a leadership role to help address the issue for residents and businesses while reducing the burden on victims by holding polluters and those who litter accountable.

There is also a new amendment that proposes the implementation of the “reverse-onus” concept, which is something Cape Breton Regional Municipality implemented last year, which Hendsbee says has been successful already in prosecuting some offenders.

Read more: HRM looking to crack down on illegal dumping in North Preston with surveillance system

If any enforcement or peace officers find any identifying information in illegally dumped materials like receipts, shipping labels or even pill bottles, then that person is deemed to be the owner of the waste and it’s up to them to remedy the situation or prove they didn’t dump the materials.

“If we can find any piece of identification in the waste, identifying the potential owner or who had the property before it was dumped, they will become responsible for the cleanup,” said Hendsbee.

More enforcement is necessary said Hendsbee to set examples of those illegally dumping, which he believes will help curb the behaviour.

Hendsbee encourages anyone who witnesses illegal dumping to report it.

Council is expected to vote in favour of the newly proposed amendments at Tuesday’s special council meeting.

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