District of Mission crews picked up illegally dumped garbage on Gunn Avenue last week.

Illegal dumping an ongoing problem in Mission

Two-thirds of the district's budget allocated to deal with the issue has already been used up.

About $35,000 is spent cleaning up illegal dumped garbage around the community every year.

From dirty adult diapers to drywall waste and old car parts, it seems people will leave just about anything on public spaces for district staff to pick up.

But this year, the problem appears to be getting worse. Two-thirds of the district’s budget allocated to deal with the issue has already been used up.

‘We’re at $26,000 already with over two-thirds of the year left to go,” said Mission’s public works operations manager Matt Dunham.

There are some problem areas in town, like on Stave Lake Road from 7th to 9th Avenue, but the issue mostly lies in the rural areas. Tyler Street, Nelson Street, Dewdney Trunk Road, and Clay Street are areas that have been littered with unwanted material recently.

Last week district crews found a substantial amount of trash on Gunn Avenue, like someone had been dumping garbage out of their truck while driving down the road, said Dunham.

But it’s not just household trash plaguing Mission. The district spends tens of thousands more on illegally dumped garbage that are related to drugs or other chemicals.

“Those sites are handled differently and involve many more different departments,” explained Dunham. “I have seen those (numbers) as high as $60,000.”

Several weeks ago, a 45-gallon drum filled with an unknown substance was found at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac at Silver Creek Industrial Park, but workers were advise by the fire chief not to open it, move it, or dispose of it because its contents had not been ascertained.

Some municipalities are finding “seriously large synthetic drug dumps,” said Fire Chief Larry Watkinson, noting the contents inside could be dangerous.

Days later, firefighters determined the drum contained a petroleum-based substance and Dunham received a quote of $7,000 to remove it. If the contents cannot be determined, a hazmat team has to be called in and the bill will increase.

About one drum a month is being reported to the district, but crews are finding used motor oil every week on the side of the road, which is alarming Mission Mayor Randy Hawes.

“There is so much of it, we have to do something,” said Hawes, who is proposing a reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible. “We’ll be looking to make an example of someone. It just can’t keep happening.”

The mayor suspects truckers who change their oil on their own are not properly disposing of the material.

“We know it’s not oil from a car shop because they get paid for their waste oil,” said Hawes.

Mission’s director of development services, Mike Younie said it will take “a bit of backbone” to pursue the people responsible for the litter. District staff will propose some options on how to proceed and the matter will be discussed by council at a later date that has not yet been determined.