Remote Malahide road becomes public dump

·2 min read

A Malahide resident was surprised to find a boat, car topper, and construction debris, all discarded at a remote spot along Sawmill Road.

Vern Shaver said that while garbage has occasionally been tossed in this area, the items he finds along the road have been more bizarre than usual lately.

“You name it, it’s been dumped there over the years,” he said. “There’s been foliage, tires, medical masks, dead animals, and hazardous materials, like shingles or siding with asbestos.”

Not only are there environmental and economic consequences to illegal dumping, but the garbage can be potentially dangerous for drivers. Some items, such as the car topper found on Saturday, Oct. 17, are dumped directly on the gravel roadway.

Mr. Shaver said his seven-year-old son, Sean, hit some fencing materials in the weeds while operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) along Sawmill Road last autumn. Sean was not hurt; the machine came to a stop after it became entangled in wire.

“It’s inconsiderate and dangerous, and it’s not saving anybody any money,” he said.

Mr. Shaver has notified Malahide township on multiple occasions. The roads department drives out shortly afterwards to clean up the mess, which costs the township hundreds of dollars.

“I’m disappointed that people take this route. There is an expense to clean this up,” said Malahide Mayor Dave Mennill. “It’s far more expensive for us to clean this than it is for people to dispose of it properly.”

Elgin Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have investigated, and concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to press charges.

If there is sufficient evidence, Elgin OPP normally asks the suspected person to clean it up or charge them with illegal dumping, said Mayor Mennill.

No other residents have complained about the issue in that specific area recently. Mr. Shaver travels on Sawmill Road relatively often, as his property is nearby on Vienna Line. A long stretch of the road is relatively isolated, surrounded by forests and farm fields. There are about two properties on opposite ends of the road.

The Malahide roads department winter patrol inspects every kilometre on a daily basis, including all township roads as well as county roads, as part of the minimum maintenance standard. There are also “no dumping” signs posted on some roads.

There have been several other similar instances of public trash dumping in East Elgin. The Aylmer Express reported about an Aylmer man in the April 22 edition, who consistently found trash piles near his residence across from Centennial Estates Park. In late March, several residents complained about trash piles on Port Bruce beach.

Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express