Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A GROWING PROBLEM – The Humane Society Yukon has had to rent a dumpster for the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, seen above this morning, to get ride of its unwanted drop-offs. Below are examples of some of the largely useless items people are dumping at the Tlingit Street premises after hours, often disturbing the dogs inside. Photo courtesy MAE BACHUR ANIMAL SHELTER

Animal shelter deluged with unwanted items

The Humane Society Yukon has found itself issuing a public reminder that its animal shelter is not “a free store, recycling depot or garbage dump.”

By Stephanie Waddell on July 11, 2017

The Humane Society Yukon has found itself issuing a public reminder that its animal shelter is not “a free store, recycling depot or garbage dump.”

Dan Moore, the group’s executive director, posted the notice on the group’s Facebook page. He included three photos showing old furniture, clothes and garbage bags packed full of items that were left in front of the shelter.

“I am disappointed, and surprised that I would have to post this notice to inform the community that the Humane Society is NOT a dumping ground for unwanted items ....YES we have a Yard Sale planned for sometime this summer, and I appreciate people donated items that are in good shape and have value to help raise some extra funds for the animals .... But over the last month with the closing of the Free Store we are receiving a lot of items that should go directly to the dump, with those items being dropped off from 10pm-12am (as our cameras time stamp indicates),” Moore wrote.

He was referencing the recent closure of the Raven Recycling Society’s free store at its Industrial Road premises.

That closure has followed April’s shuttering of the former Salvation Army thrift shop and the city’s free store at the landfill.

All of those organizations had been reporting many donations of unusable goods that should have gone to the general landfill rather than free and thrift stores.

Moore highlighted the approximately $170 he estimated the society would be charged in tipping fees to take the waste that had been dropped off to the landfill that night.

The society, he wrote, has had to rent a dumpster four times over the course of one month to deal with unusable items that continue to turn up during hours when the shelter is closed.

“If these items were in good condition then they could be used to raise money...but the couches, chairs are stained, covered in cigarette burns, and have an odor. Clothing has no value to us, and the beds are old and not something we resell,” Moore wrote.

“If you have good items to donate to the Yard Sale please check with us first before dropping them off so we can put them away in our storage shelves and then they do not sit outside in the elements.

“This process then avoids us having to pay to have the items removed. This month alone we have spent close to $1200.00 to remove these items.....money that we should be spending on our animals and not on garbage removal.”

Many responding to the post have expressed outrage at those dropping off their garbage. They have called on the city to waive the society’s tipping fees at the landfill.

The society notes the city turned down its request for a reduction on tipping fees about a month ago.

That had many posting comments that the non-profit shouldn’t be faced with the fees, and that the city should assist.

City councillor Roslyn Woodcock issued a response from her personal Facebook account.

She argued the tipping fees are low at about $15 for a mattress, $10 for a couch and $40 for a fridge, and was questioned by the society’s Brent Slobodin about why the group is saddled with the fees.

Woodcock replied: “The City provided $137,500,000 in grants and contributions to community groups, seniors, recycling, and other worthy community endeavors in 2017.

“The Humane Society Yukon benefited from these grants as well. They received a 100% rebate of their property taxes in the amount of $7,466.20.

“While we would love to be able to cover all costs for all community builders like the Humane Society, it is impossible. We get push back at the least increase in taxes and unfortunately more spending will always mean more taxes. http://www.whitehorse.ca/city-council/council-grants.”

Peter O’Blenes is the city’s director of infrastructure and operations.

He explained in an interview Monday that the city had responded to the society’s request by asking that more information be provided on what sort of operational model it’s seeking around the tipping fees.

The real issue, he argued, is that people are just dropping off waste that should be going to the landfill.

“It’s illegal dumping,” he said.

He pointed out the free and thrift stores have shut down largely for the same reasons: people dropping off goods that were largely unusable, with many that ultimately ended up in the dump.

O’Blenes said the city wants to work with other organizations to come up with a solution for dealing with waste.

The city also has a reuse guide available on its website outlining options for residents looking to get rid of reusable goods such as through consignment stores, and selling or giving them away via buy and sell sites on social media sites.

Some organizations take donations, but residents are reminded to contact officials with the organizations prior to making the donation and to never leave items outside of drop-off locations.

Comments (19)

Up 9 Down 3

Crinka on Jul 15, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Any organization that is willing to allow material items or the like a chance of being recycled should have their tipping fees waived....period! To charge these groups that are allowing 50% of their items to find a new home is outrageous. Love the Wilderness City Logo though...sounds like an oxymoron to me.

Up 12 Down 2

Josey Wales on Jul 14, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Hey north 60.... I read your stuff and respect your opinions.
* trigger warning all snowflakes back in the freezer...OJW bringing some heat*

That said I would have to disagree that the CoW should run such a thing.
Do you wish to pay union blowhole wages for a "thrift shop specialist"?
We employ enough cronies of the civic elites we need not go down that rabbit hole. You know they would need a swank new building with bathrooms required for the (at time of posting)...72 genders to keep their fan base satiated. They could not have mere single staffer, they would need a dept.
In short the less government in our daily life the easier things get in the "real world"

In particular the civic blowhole type, Josey....freely expressing myself yet again.
And always will...even after a no public dissent by-law is passed.
There is a few in that hall that do not like dissent.... I hope that twit I spoke with this a.m. will recover from the ghastly trauma of both meeting me...and hearing my dissent moderation sans.
"So you know who we are dealing with...." yes I melt snowflakes...clearly!

Up 22 Down 3

north_of_60 on Jul 13, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Unless someone is dumping actual provable garbage, then by-law would have difficulty making a case that the person wasn't just trying to donate to the shelter with the best of their abilities. One person's 'trash' is another person's 'treasure'.

It would be far better for the CoW to direct the members of the useless Sustainability Department to get up off their lazy butts and operate a Thrift Store at the dump. They need to start doing something to justify the half-million of our tax dollars they suck-up every year.

Up 25 Down 4

Reality check on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Dear COW:
For bear proof garbage bins, waste management, how to manage life with wildlife and a "bear smart community" - please contact Canmore or Banff, AB!

They know how to deal with it, but that's maybe too much work to look a little further beyond the limited horizon of the sustainability department...

Up 28 Down 5

Josey Wales on Jul 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Folks our civic team are tone deaf, arrogant, live in their elitist bubble...and I am certain believe we are here for them. Never mind my opinion, the track record of the nobles speaks for itself.
Personally I would drop off that pile and future piles in the yards of the nobles who love vacuuming our pockets of everything including the effin lint. Our town is a mere bad shadow of what it once was, and imho the fools or dragons sitting on our gold are the biggest architects of this flawed plan.
Go take a look just at the sheer volume of bylaws many of which redefines archaic and kings speak talk. Our current civic blowholes give not a rats ass about the folks living here, unless those said are cronies.
I know I go off from time to time...fair enough, but really folks?
I highly encourage all folks to cross reference our many bylaws and how our nobles stack up on following their own schemes.
Seriously folks read them...hundreds of them, absolutely bombard Mr. Pruden's office. His office will spend your money very well anyways, might as well entertain yourself fighting fire with fire and throw the s**t back at
"Them" from..."us"

Up 26 Down 7

BB on Jul 13, 2017 at 9:46 am

Roslyn. The PUBLIC has dumped GARBAGE on the porch of the Humane Society. The Humane Society is doing the responsible thing, (and going above and beyond in my opinion), and is dragging all this crap up to the land fill. As a person who pays COW taxes on 3 properties in town, I would be more than happy to pay my portion so this charity organization does not get stuck with FEES, on top of doing the work of sorting and moving the garbage!

Up 36 Down 4

stu nanson on Jul 12, 2017 at 10:14 pm

People dump or discard pets so its not a stretch that they dump their old furniture.

Councillor Woodcock needs some sensitivity training and perhaps a harassment refresher course.

Up 29 Down 3

Just Say'in on Jul 12, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Why is it that the City cannot understand that it will never work to penalize people for improper behaviour? If you want the Garbage at the dump then don't fine people for taking it there. Simple.

Up 15 Down 4

Thomas on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:59 pm

If the shelter has cameras and can capture the plates, bylaw can go and issue a fine for those dumping. Under the solid waste bylaw, it is illegal to dump as the individuals have been in this instance. There has been a big push in the last year from the City asking the public to report illegal dumping, and now that this is occurring, there seems to be silence on the Cities end of things. Where are the bylaw officers and why are they not investigating at this point? It's obvious the City is not ignorant to the issue either, as Roslyn Woodcock seems to be commenting on the issue of dumping. Dan Moore - You need to bring this to the attention of the City Manager for Bylaw to investigate as they seem to not be doing anything themselves about it. Put our tax dollars to work by putting them to work and start doing their jobs to investigate this nonsense.

Up 26 Down 2

north_of_60 on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Fair Game is correct. MBS should take the items to the dumpster at City Hall or if it's not available then leave it on the front steps. Do it in broad daylight. Embarrass the CoW into waiving tipping fees for MBS; after all they're taxpayer funded.

I don't mind that people are dumping items at MBS, it's better than dumping it in the bush.

Mayor&Council should terminate the Sustainability Department for their gross mismanagement of the garbage situation in Whitehorse. From causing more bears to be killed with their mandatory compost bear attractant bins to forcing people to dispose of their trash by other means because of mismanagement of the Landfill, they are serving no useful purpose and sucking up tax revenue which should be spent to fix the problems they cause.

Mayor & Council - if any of you want to get re-elected start showing your leadership skills to fix our garbage problems.

Up 29 Down 2

DW on Jul 12, 2017 at 2:19 pm

So the City can give away hundreds of thousands in arena rentals, subsidies for sports etc., pay for a Sustainablility Department and cannot find a way to help citizens deal with items that are too good to throw away? I'm sure some people have dumped these items out of laziness or inability to pay to dispose of it, but some are probably thinking that they are really doing something good in helping this non-profit when maybe they can't afford to make a cash donation. It's sad that we can't make the 3 r's work up here.

Up 32 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Jul 12, 2017 at 11:31 am

If the offenders are captured on camera dropping off their junk, charge them with littering.

Up 40 Down 2

Fair Game on Jul 12, 2017 at 4:59 am

I would say the city has just established the precedent that dumping your garbage on someone else's property is fair game. If I were running Mae Bachur, I'd be emptying those dumpsters at City Hall after hours. Until it's their problem, it won't be fixed.

Up 34 Down 2

Capitan on Jul 11, 2017 at 10:24 pm

So it costs $1200 to the Humane Society for tipping fees, yet Roslyn Woodcock says they're not that expensive. Yet they're not so inexpensive that the city will ever waive the fees, even for a non-profit. For a city that claims such empathy for low-income people, her comment is pretty tone-deaf. There's times in my life when I was scrambling to find $15 to get groceries. And I'm not poor. People who don't have much money shouldn't have to live with garbage.

Anyway, I can't even with the tipping fees. One thing the city could do is have more free tipping weekends, like once every quarter. But they passed a law and now if you don't obey it, you're a jerk. I don't go around dumping illegally but taking anything to the Whitehorse landfill is just a day ruined for me, I hate the fee structure so much. And it just makes it worse that the city is so holier-than-thou about it. Basically, they treat tipping fees like a sin tax. Just shame people who have the terrible habit of generating waste.

Up 33 Down 3

The real issue on Jul 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm

The issue here is that people are illegally dumping. By-Law, where are you guys? Unfortunately it might take cameras to catch these people, but it would be sad if the Humane Society is saddled with this cost as well. (Go Fund Me account to help them out?) And Roslyn, you state that the City provides a rebate on property taxes, and what, you think this money, a mere $7,466 should be used for tipping fees? How frigging generous on getting back the money you so graciously donated (sarcasm for those that don't recognize it). Do you actually think this is one of their mandates, to support those individuals that choose to avoid paying a tipping fee? I hope not. Come on, Roslyn, don't use social media to show how ignorant you really are.

Up 36 Down 3

north_of_60 on Jul 11, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Of course Woodduck doesn't think tipping fees are outrageous. Elitists like her don't have to live on a tight budget, they just give themselves raises on the taxpayer's dime.
Those tipping fees are not clearly stated anywhere that the public can easily access. People are understandably afraid to go to the dump with unwanted items, not knowing what the fees might be, and worried their license number will be recorded if they decide the cost is too high.

Long time residents know we seldom had these problems before the Sustainability Department was formed to suck-up half a million per year of taxpayer dollars with nothing useful to show in return.
Disband the Sustainability Department and use that money to significantly reduce tipping fees.

Some of the blame also belongs to the Salvation Army for closing their Thrift Store instead of including it in their new taxpayer funded building, or in the old building they moved out of. They will never get another donation from me, and I'm not alone in that opinion.

Up 15 Down 6

Matt on Jul 11, 2017 at 6:29 pm

I guess people feel dogs need couches in their home too!

Up 52 Down 11

Wayne on Jul 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm

All because of CoW's insane dump policies, and tipping fees.

Up 55 Down 3

Are you kidding me??? on Jul 11, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Councillor Roslyn Woodcock is clearly not very sharp with math. $137 million in grants to community groups? In 2017 alone?
Remember, this is the same person voting to approve the City's outrageous $80 million dollar edifice to itself, as well as voting to give themselves raises.
Not to mention how callous her tone was. I wonder, was she speaking on behalf of mayor & council? If not, she should be censured and apologize for her remarks.
Pay attention to council meetings folks, the next elections can't come soon enough. There's some purging that needs to happen at city hall.

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