Litter frustrates Prince George cleanup volunteer

·2 min read

Residents are being asked to make sure their loads are secure after an effort to clean up litter near the Foothills landfill during the spring cleanup proved more trouble than it was worth for some Prince George residents.

Scott Nelson, his wife and his mother spent about four hours on Sunday picking up trash on the southeast corner of the intersection of Foothills and Austin, right across from the landfill - only to see the site back to its litter-strewn state just 48 hours later.

He sent the Citizen photos of what the area looked like just after they finished the job - litter free - and one of how it looked by Tuesday. On Wednesday, the spot remained just as bad, with plastic bags and other debris thoroughly dotting the area.

"Honestly, just speaking for myself, I’m more than a bit upset that I essentially wasted my time," Nelson said.

Renee McCloskey, spokeswoman for the Fraser-Fort George Regional District, which operates the landfill, said the FFGRD appreciates the efforts volunteers put in during the cleanup, "especially those who volunteered near our landfill."

As for the litter, McCloskey said cleaning it up in and around the FFGRD's facilities is a "high priority and we have additional staff during this time of year to take care of litter revealed by the snow melting. Unfortunately, gusty winds aren’t our friend."

She added that a rule requiring loads to be secured remains in force seven years after it was first put into place.

"While this has reduced many of the issues related to the transport of unsecured waste, when there are windy days and periods of extremely high volumes of traffic, such as we experienced over the last few weekends, you are unfortunately going to still have some challenges with litter," McCloskey said.

She went on to say that landfills and transfer stations are extremely busy this time of year.

"After a long winter, people are keen to clean up their yards and do some spring cleaning around the house. Over the past couple weekends, there have been long lines and wait times to access our facilities," McCloskey said and passed on the following tips:

- If you have waste that doesn’t have to be disposed of immediately (i.e. yard waste), consider storing it for a couple weeks or if possible come during the week or early mornings to avoid peak times.

- Public health orders, regulations and WorkSafeBC rules apply to at FFGRD facilities. Wear a mask, maintain a safe distance from others and follow all onsite signage.

"This is for the safety of the public, our staff and our contractors," McCloskey said.

- Be patient. "Our staff are working hard and doing everything they can to get everyone through to dispose of their waste and recycling properly," McCloskey said. "A little patience and kindness goes a long way."

Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen