Peachland volunteers tackle squatters mess

A group of citizens pulled together to tackle an illegal dump site on Crown Land north of Peachland

Another weekend, another volunteer cleanup effort played out in the bush. This time an ad hoc group of citizens pulled together to tackle a large illegal dump site on Crown Land north of Peachland left behind this winter after two squatters were arrested for mail fraud.

The massive dump site in a secluded spot in the bush off Trepanier Road had been home to the pair and a stolen 35-foot RV. RCMP towed the trailer out in December, but in its wake was left a massive amount of household garbage, makeshift structures, and hazardous chemicals. In preparation for Saturdays clean up, a Hazmat team was hired to remove the remnants of the rudimentary drug lab, including various acids, aerosols, and dozens of propane tanks.

Waste Reduction Facilitator Rae Stewart with the Regional District says this was one of the uglier sites they’ve seen in some time, and all just meters away from the banks of Trepanier Creek, a source of Peachland’s drinking water. “The dozens of volunteers that lent their muscle to the cause Saturday deserve an enormous environmental salute. Thank you to each and every one of the dedicated volunteers that showed up, and did their all to take care of one ugly mess.

“We rely on groups like these when the illegal dumping is difficult to access and this large in scale, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of their immense hard work and commitment.”

Clean up Volunteer Coordinator Keith Nixon who lives nearby the dump site says he’s thrilled this blight on their backyard playground is now gone.

“Unfortunately this kind of thing is all too common, but this clean up was a roaring success with over 23 volunteers, including representation from the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance, Mayor Cindy Fortin, and the Peachland Lions. Special thanks to the Districts Cheryl Wiebe for a callout to volunteers. A 40-yard dumpster (from For Less Disposal) was filled to the brim in just over two and half hours, and we dismantled a site where rogue criminals had occupied for five months, throwing contents of their crime spree all over and let their effluent flow to the creek. Job completed, nature restored.”

If you find any dump sites or littering while out enjoying our local natural areas here are some things you can do. Start by filling in the online report form at: www.regionaldistrict.com/reportillegaldumping or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250. Be sure to include:

· A detailed description of the area (or GPS coordinates) for the illegal dump site

· The size of the dump site

· The type of items that were dumped

· Information on how we can contact you (all information will remain confidential)

The Regional Waste Reduction Office will supply any groups interested in cleaning up their community with bags and gloves to support their efforts, and will arrange for the collection and disposal of the garbage collected.

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