West Nipissing cleanup group says litter problem is getting worse
NORTH BAY -- A group of volunteers in West Nipissing says the garbage and dumping problem is getting out of hand.
Members of the Sturgeon Falls Beautification Group go out to pick up trash around the hardest-hit areas and said more action is needed from the municipality and local agencies to keep the area garbage-free.
"We want a clean, green, beautiful West Nipissing," said Gayle Primeau, group leader. "We have a jewel here surrounded by beautiful lakes and rivers. Let's keep it clean."
During a neighbourhood cleanup Saturday afternoon, the group stumbled upon the remains of furniture dumped near Minnehaha Bay. They said dumping is a major problem in the municipality.
Primeau and her team started to clean up the most affected areas three years ago. The group recently launched a neighbourhood clean-up campaign, where families adopt an area of town that they're responsible to clean.
"We're now at 125 areas adopted in the whole of West Nipissing," Primeau said. "Some of the areas are getting worse."
She said she often sees discarded beer bottles littered all over rural roads in the municipality along with garbage in downtown Sturgeon Falls.
West Nipissing Mayor Joanne Savage said the municipality's two part-time by-law officers left the job, making it difficult to enforce both the littering and property maintenance bylaws that are in place.
"That will be brought up to council. This is going to be a priority because we want to make sure we endorse and work with the volunteers and that we can respond to the issues," Savage said.
The mayor said the municipal council supports the work that the Sturgeon Falls Beautification Group does.
"Whenever there are local issues that occur, we attempt to address these issues as quickly as possible," Savage said. "This is not a new issue. There seems to be a trend of it occurring on rural roads."
Primeau suggests the municipality enhance the recycling program and waive the fee at the municipal dump to encourage people to not litter.
"There is already a difference that's been made, but it's not enough," she said. "We need to continue. We need to have everybody get into this movement."
Primeau said more education is also needed to encourage people to stop littering.