An initiative has begun to clean up Chatham-Kent as massive dump-sites have been found in community marshes, ditches, private properties and public properties. John Urban and Jeff Bowman of Wheatley Ontario were disgusted when they found large amounts of garbage scattered throughout illegal dump-sites during their morning coffee drives.
John and Jeff immediately brought the issue forward to their peers and other concerned citizens, one of which being Councillor Mark Authier who is now putting the motion forward on Monday night to have the fines for littering and dumping raised to a maximum of $10,000, a fine that should deter those who illegally dump waste on these properties.
Mark stated in an interview this afternoon, ” We hope to get more Councillors on board to help clean up their wards. It seems that the activity happens on roads that are less traveled on or during times that less people would be likely to catch the criminals in action. We would like to set up a schedule by ward to clean up once per month with the help of the volunteers or those who need their community service hours.” Mark also stated that signs displaying the fine amounts are important in places where the dumping occurs.
Jeff and John said that they would like to dig to the root of the problem first by stopping or deterring the criminals, therefore making it less likely that there would need to be a clean up crew in the future. They than would use the fresh start to educate youth on the importance of a clean environment for our families and communities. “We hope to understand why these people are dumping in the first place”, said John and Jeff , “Educating the youth is ultimately going to impact our future”.
The campaign also kicked off on social media, where John and Jeff are asking citizens to post their “Hot Spots”, places that have been illegally used as a dumping grounds. This will help deter negative behaviours. They also want citizens to take pictures of any illegal dumping as it occurs and contact the proper authorities.
The council meeting Monday will determine the new fines and potentially set the path for a green and clean future for Chatham-Kent.