Monday mornings spent rounding up random household junk dumped throughout the community is a common concern in Oak Bay.
So far this year the district’s parks and public works staff have made several trips to the dump, adding up to $1,600 spent by April 25. Microwaves, televisions and couches are all common finds on the streets of Oak Bay.
Christina Johnson-Dean is among the volunteers who tend to Anderson Hill Park, and there among the ivy she recently discovered piles of signs, such as real estate signs, likely plucked from lawns nearby.
“The thing that’s so stunning is Anderson Hill is here in an urban environment … people just come and dump stuff,” Johnson-Dean said. “It seems to be more this time of year, I don’t know whether it’s people moving … but some of the stuff we’ve found when we’re clearing up ivy [include] paint cans and a Christmas tree.”
Parks are an unfortunate popular choice for those leaving their trash behind.
“It’s a real popular place for people to walk their dog and socialize, so to see the garbage there is not pleasant, especially the broken bottles,” Johnson-Dean said.
“I guess their idea is they can dump it in the ivy and it disappears. I would love for people to be more responsible about where they dispose of their garbage and trash.”
Some people treat parks like a personal compost, said Chris Hyde-Lay, manager of parks for Oak Bay.
But it’s not necessarily the biggest problem, certainly not the largest eyesore. The seclusion of Cattle Point provides a popular place to leave larger furniture such as sofas.
The $1,600 spent in the first four months disposing of other people’s trash doesn’t include the labour and truck costs borne by the district.
“It’s considerable every year,” said Hyde-Lay, the same day they were set to pick up a sofa left near Carnarvon Road at Foul Bay Road. Drywall, mattresses, garden waste and televisions are commonly chucked on the boulevard.
“That’s most of the problem, people deciding to leave garbage and stuff on the boulevard,” said Hyde-Lay.
“We try to stay on top of most things. If we find an offender we’ll certainly speak to them.”
That’s a tough task, and the trash is not of the ‘free and working’ variety.
“No one else is going to pick them up except the municipality,” Hyde-Lay said. “The focus is to keep the municipality tidy. If it needs picking up we’ll usually pick it up. Most people are good, it’s the one per cent that don’t care.”
Residents can call Oak Bay Parks (250-592-7275) or Public Works (250-598-4501) if they discover trash taking up residence on their boulevard.