Whitehorse Daily Star

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ENVIRONMENTAL EYESORES – This truck and hot tub were simply left along the Mount Sima Road last weekend – leaving municipal taxpayers footing the cleanup costs. Photo by SAM OETTLI

Dumped truck, trash, hot tub called ‘appalling’

A truck and hot tub found abandoned on the side of the the Mount Sima road Monday has sparked indignation.

By Gord Fortin on August 7, 2019

A truck and hot tub found abandoned on the side of the the Mount Sima road Monday has sparked indignation.

Whitehorse resident Sam Oettli spoke with the Star Tuesday about his finding.

He said he found the truck – without an engine or transmission – and hot tub as well as trash 1.5 km down the Mount Sima Road. It was the portion of the road that heads toward the former Whitehorse Copper Mine site.

The truck parked on the shoulder and the hot tub was dumped on the vegetation on the side, near Beaver Pond.

Beer cans littered the back of the truck and the ground, Oettli said. There was foam on the hot tub and in the back of the truck.

The Ford truck’s drive shaft and hood were in the back. There was a rock placed behind a tire, to prevent it from rolling.

Oettli did not notice any fluids leaking from the vehicle but noted the trash was all over the place. Some of it was in the water. He picked up some of the garbage himself.

He said he could not see the truck’s missing parts anywhere at the scene, so figures it was towed to the area.

He believes the items were dumped last weekend. Nothing was there at 4 p.m. last Friday when he drove through the area.

“It could have been anytime over the weekend,” Oettli said.

He called city bylaw officers after making the find. He was informed that the city was already aware of the situation.

Oettli explained that the road sees a lot of use. He was unsure how much of a safety risk the truck posed but was more concerned about the environmental impacts.

He said the pond has a large beaver dam nearby. This caused the water to be six feet high in some areas.

The items were found below the dam, and Oettli fears some of the trash could have flowed down to a nearby marsh.

“I find this kind of appalling,” Oettli said.

He said he does not understand the reasoning for leaving the derelict truck and other items there. The person responsible should have gone to the landfill, paid the tipping fee and disposed of the truck the right way, he said.

“Mother Nature is not our dumping ground,” Oettli pointed out.

He said he can’t believe the disregard shown to the environment – an issue close to his heart. He is the operations manager at the Friends of Mount Sima Society, and called the area his backyard.

City workers are having to deal with this, he noted. “It’s just not right.”

Oettli posted photos of the site on social media, and is happy with the response. He hopes this will get people to rethink bad behaviour.

An RCMP officer at the scene told him police contacted the truck’s owner, and the vehicle has since been removed.

City spokesperson Myles Dolphin confirmed that the city will have to clean up the area. He was not able to calculate how much that would cost.

He was able to say that bylaw services would have to haul the items to the landfill

Illegal dumping has been a serious problem for a while, Dolphin added, and it causes impacts to the environment.

“We encourage folks to take their larger items to the waste management facility — tipping fees are fairly low, and they can be found on our website,” Dolphin said in an email.

There is a waste sorting app that can assist people on where to take items for disposal, he pointed out.

Anyone finding evidence of illegal dumping can call the city’s Trouble Line at 867-667-2111, he added.

The Star contacted the RCMP for comment, but no response was received before press time this afternoon.

Comments (18)

Up 8 Down 0

Always Questions on Aug 12, 2019 at 7:49 pm

I just got rid of a microwave & dishwasher at Raven, nuker was free, the dishwasher was $12.00, ya I whined, but paid it and now it's in the stream and it is not -- "insert - a local stream/creek name" in our accessible wilderness. I've seen lots of illegal dumping, all over the territory and it's just not pretty ... unless of historic significance, there's always exceptions, but ya! we gotta suck it up some and do better with our garbage. Free weekends would be a good start as mentioned, even monthly? ...

Up 11 Down 0

Garbage Mouth on Aug 12, 2019 at 4:13 pm

We own a few affordable rental units here in Whitehorse. Some of our tenants simply cannot afford to take ANYTHING to the dump; some can't even get to the dump on their own. Consequently, the stuff meant for the dump sits on the property until we, the landlords, remove it. Yes, we can afford the tipping fees. My point is that not ALL Whitehorse residents can.
Having said that, one would think if a person can afford a hot tub, they should be able to afford the tipping fees.

Up 9 Down 2

Mr M on Aug 12, 2019 at 2:45 pm

@ Roy. Holy C__p take a chill pill. We live in Canada and people have the right to complain about their taxes and what they pay in and around the Territory if they are tax paying citizens.

Up 9 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Aug 12, 2019 at 2:33 pm

@Greicko
Both the City and YG have access to CPIC, The Canadian Police Information Centre, where the VIN number of the vehicle will inform who the registered owner of the vehicle is, address is included, so follow-up is quite simple if they are motivated.

Up 9 Down 0

Groucho d' North on Aug 12, 2019 at 1:02 pm

I live outside the City boundaries and dispose of my waste materials at the Son of War Eagle dump. I have no problem paying for this service as I do not pay for it in my property taxes. The tipping fees could be better advertised, in fact they are not even included on the City's webpage on Waste Management, moreover the dump is operated by a contractor and not the City. The poor guys at the gate house get all kinds of abuse that does not belong to them due to how the City operates the facility.
There is a cost for disposing of waste materials and the end consumer should be responsible to pay them. However paying up front recycling fees for tires and battery disposal needs to be reconsidered. I pay at the dealer when I buy the products and I pay again when I take them to the dump- how come? Perhaps a coupon or some similar system could be developed to ID these products that have already been charged for recycling to avoid double-dipping for these fees?
I also believe the fines for littering and other acts of disposing waste in the hinterland need to be much, much larger so that people will think real hard before they contaminate our wilderness with their garbage. Signs along the highway say $1000 fine for littering, in the near 50 years I have lived here I have never once heard of anybody being charged with this offence, and with all the litter blowing around, you'd think it would be quite common.

Up 19 Down 3

... uh Roy? on Aug 12, 2019 at 9:53 am

If your taxes pay for garbage collection why do you have to pay to drop your garbage off?
Country residential doesn't even receive garbage collection, pays higher tax, and still has to pay to drop their garbage off when they take it to the dump.

Why do the few have to pay for the many?

Up 19 Down 23

Roy on Aug 10, 2019 at 1:31 pm

Waaaah! Lookit me, I'm a Yukoner! I don't want to pay for anything, nor take responsibility for my garbage! Tipping fees are for *those* people Outside! How DARE THEY bring their Southern nonsense up here and make us pay tipping fees like every other dump in the country?!? I moved up here to be a lawless, pretentious douchbag, and it's MY RIGHT to be one!

Holy Christ, have you all listened to how entitled you sound? Wow.

Up 27 Down 5

why do we pay so much and then have to pay again on Aug 9, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Large furniture item + truck = well over $100 in tipping.

What I find strange is this.
Wage for a day = $120.00 then taxes takes a chunk out of that.
Property taxes, carbon taxes, G.S.T.

So with all of those streams of income, the government still says they need more?
Taking a good portion of a days wage so that a person can drop off garbage? You'd think the City could take care of the people the way the people take care of the City. All those employees live high off the hog and $100.00 to them in tipping is nothing.

Up 26 Down 4

Capitan on Aug 9, 2019 at 11:35 am

@jean, I totally agree. I find tipping fees totally arbitrary, esp. is you don't have curbside pickup (which seems like a great deal to me) and the fact that they're not very well publicized just aggravates it. I would have no idea how much it costs to dump a vehicle there, though it's pricey enough when you take it to a salvage yard. Often, over the years, the people in the booth don't seem clear, either, on what they're charging. I've phoned the city and found out I was overcharged at times, but you don't get that money back. So the uncertainty of what you'll be charged is a real problem, and I find it disrespectful on the city's part, that they won't come clean on it.

They've put the fees on a board with the prices on the booth, right under the window, so if you try to look at them, you're holding up the line. If you do manage to get a peek, it's pretty broad -- "small truckload", "large truckload" etc. I doubt if it's kept up-to-date, so if a price increases, all they have to say is "it changed". I haven't managed to find anything clear on the city website. Often the most information is buried in the line items of the budget.

I have a 50 year old stove that I'm going to need to get rid of soon. I suspect it will cost as much to take it to the landfill as it cost new. It seems to me there's an argument that, having used something to the full extent of its life cycle, you shouldn't be penalized for its disposal. But overall, I'd rather pay that fee upfront and not be at the whim of the city's rather self-serving view on what they need to charge at the landfill.

They should allow more residential tipping free of charge. Once a year is ridiculous. And even then so many things aren't included anyway.

That doesn't mean I condone dumping in the bush. But every time a story like this happens, the officials are quick to say the tipping fees are so minimal, as though someone has to be super cheap to worry about them. That the official in this case is only saying "fairly" reasonable is almost progress.
Yeah, I find it a frustrating issue, obviously.

Up 34 Down 1

Alex K on Aug 8, 2019 at 5:28 pm

So the hot tub in the ditch was in pretty good shape, until someone who has 0 respect for nature took it up into the Whitehorse copper pits and then proceeded to trash the daylights out of it spreading pieces of foam and fiberglass along a road for about 1 km. Rather than wait for the responsible party to clean it up (which we all know will never happen). I spent 3 hours picking up hundreds of fist sized pieces and the hard fiberglass shell and hauled it to the dump.
It cost me $15 for the entire 8' truck box sized mess... crazy expensive I know.
If I had a return to sender address I would have taken the mess back to it's proper owners yard at 3 AM.

Up 28 Down 10

jean on Aug 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm

This is happening because tipping fees at the dump are very high and not well publicized so people are reluctant to even go there. The fees are high to discourage people using the dump, and it works. There would be far less bush dumping if residential garbage fees were waived on weekends.

Up 32 Down 14

entitled much on Aug 7, 2019 at 11:35 pm

"tipping fees are fairly low" that would be $75.00
Easy to say fairly low when you're coddled and on the take from the City and have no one to answer to.
Try the big boy pants.

Up 43 Down 11

Max Mack on Aug 7, 2019 at 10:09 pm

"tipping fees are fairly low"
Compared to what? What absolute b.s.

Tipping fees are directly responsible for people throwing their trash in the bush. This is what happens when you charge people ridiculous amounts to dispose of their waste.

Up 28 Down 16

Don Thorp on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:44 pm

Was the glass in that truck in good shape?
If the do gooders had not complained I would have gone up there and taken some parts off it. With a little time people could have stripped it and and eventually it would rust away.

I will swing by to see if the hot tub can be recycled. Maybe I can donate it as a raised flower bed for the City beautification project by the centre on Alexander Street. The colour is very nice.

Up 30 Down 9

Guncache on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:19 pm

This has happened ever since tipping fees were put in place. It will continue. Get rid of tipping fees. Rural areas will start to see more of this starting next year when rural landfills institute tipping fees. There are not enough law enforcement personnel to patrol for illegal dumping. A person could dump a vehicle and say they sold it to someone else but they don't remember who it was.

Up 29 Down 1

Don Thorp on Aug 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm

Think it would be nice to know how far the junk was moved and who dumped it there.

Up 10 Down 34

Greicko on Aug 7, 2019 at 4:43 pm

@Watson by the Lake....Perhaps the truck was abandoned along with all means of identifying an owner. I'm sure the RCMP have a lot more on their plate, they may actually be busy putting bad people in jail rather than dealing with bylaw matters.

Up 81 Down 4

Watson Lake resident on Aug 7, 2019 at 3:59 pm

If the RCMP contacted the owner of the truck, why wasn't that owner made to clean up the mess and pay a fine. Why should the tax payers, pay for him to be an irresponsible ass? just sayin...

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