Driving to the dump? Tie down your garbage, says St. John's mayor

Mattresses, bags of garbage, even a toilet.

They've all been found littering the sides of the Outer Ring Road, and St. John's Mayor Danny Breen has a hunch about where they've come from: vehicles on the roads with unsecured loads, many heading to the Robin Hood Bay landfill.

"It's a significant problem," he said. "That ends up in many cases flying out of the truck and ending up on the side of the road, and we end up having to take care of the cleanup."

On Thursday, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary tweeted that members of its traffic services division had set up at the Robin Hood Bay landfill to inspect vehicles using the dump. 

Officers wound up doling out 72 tickets, impounding two vehicles and issuing five vehicle inspection notices under the Highway Traffic Act and Cargo Securement Regulations, the tweet said, though police confirmed the vehicles were not impounded because of unsecured loads.

"I wasn't surprised," Breen said. "If you look at the volume of the debris that you find off the Outer Ring Road come the spring … I think that's a pretty accurate number."

Breen said there are drivers from all over the Northeast Avalon coming into the city to access the dump and too many of those vehicles have garbage flying out of them.

"It's not just going to landfill, either. If you're moving furniture, if you've got a couch and a chair in the back and you're out on the highway and something comes loose and one of them comes out, it can be a major problem."

Paula Gale/CBC

Tie down your stuff

So what does it mean to secure your load?

Breen says just wrap it in a tarp and use some straps to keep the tarp down.

It's not just in the best interests of the City of St. John's or the safety of other divers on the road: driving with loose items in your vehicle can be costly, Breen said.

"There is a fine for doing this and the fine will be given by the RNC and highway enforcement if you're found not having your load covered."

Drivers can expect more police blitzes like Thursday's at the Robin Hood Bay dump over the summer — "and they do this without warning," Breen said.

"You can [expect] that this will happen again."

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