Kitsilano battles issue of problem dumping in alleys, outside thrift shops

Illegal dumping is not just a problem out in rural areas; it’s an issue in Vancouver’s trendy Kitsilano neighbourhood.

The area is increasingly littered with stuff that no one wants, despite the threat of a $2000 illegal dumping fee.

Thrift stores say about 30 per cent of the stuff that is dumped outside their stores and boxes is trash.

An SPCA store near Alma and Broadway has been the focus of more neighbourhood anger as no matter how many times the back alley is cleaned up, the next day it’s littered with more unsightly trash.

The nearby Salvation Army thrift store is experiencing a similar problem.

After every weekend, staff returns to the back of the store to see all kinds of stuff piled up on the sidewalk, even in the pouring rain.

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The sad truth is that people who may be thinking their helping a charity are in fact hurting it.

Every Monday, one full five tonne truckload of junk has to be moved out of the New Westminster location.

It costs about $300 to fill their truck with gas.

The City of Vancouver estimates it spends about a million dollars a year cleaning up illegal dump sites.

But as anyone who has ever tried knows, it’s getting more difficult to dispose of old furniture and other unused items.

It’s not just the fees involved; it’s the growing inconvenience of having to take certain things to certain transfer or recycling centres.

Last year, Vancouver city staff responded to almost 10,000 reports of illegal dump sites.

It collected 21,000 abandoned items such as appliances, electronics and furniture, including 7,700 mattresses.