RDN asks for help - Little Mountain clean-up update

Megan Olsen addresses the Regional District of Nanaimo committee of the whole on Tuesday night. - NEIL HORNER PHOTO
Megan Olsen addresses the Regional District of Nanaimo committee of the whole on Tuesday night.
— image credit: NEIL HORNER PHOTO

Any plumber can tell you that water flows downhill and Parksville city councillor Mark Lefebvre knows it too.

That's why he vowed to give any help he can to efforts to clean up the illegal dump site at Little Mountain.

"We are fully supportive," Lefebvre said. "The laws of gravity flow downhill and we are at the bottom of the hill, so we will support you in any way we can."

Lefebvre made the comments in response to a presentation made by Megan Olsen at Tuesday night's committee of the whole meeting of the Regional District of Nanaimo.

In her remarks, Olsen detailed the pile of garbage at the foot of the cliff at Little Mountain. "It's hard to tell from the top how horrible it is, but it's about 100 feet wide and 200 feet long of dense debris," she said. "At the bottom it's thick with broken glass."

Olsen said she has been making some headway in her efforts to prevent more dumping from taking place, noting that Telus has agreed to install floodlights at their tower facility at the parking lot at the top of the mountain and possibly put a camera facing the parking lot, in order to identify people who  dump in future. As well, she noted the RCMP have agreed to have Citizens On Patrol swing by the site on their rounds.

The big problem though, is the cleanup. She noted that a local resident attempted to do a cleanup two years ago, hauling nine loads out with a helicopter.

"They took 4,700 kilos out of there and barely made a dent," she said. "It's going to be a hard cleanup, but we want to ask for your help to move the process along to get permission to get fences in there and start getting the debris out of there."

She noted that some of the debris is likely leaching chemicals into the ground, which could impact water in the area.

Dennis Trudeau, the general manager of transportation and solid waste services, noted his staff have been in contact with the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources and have set up a meeting with staff from the Ministry of Environment to discuss the problem.

Coombs-Errington director Julian Fell moved that staff prepare a letter to the appropriate provincial ministries, requesting that the unauthorized dump site be cleaned up and steps be taken to deter any further dumping. The motion carried unanimously.

• The trash troops are gathering at Little Mountain as area residents come to realize the full extent of the dumping problem off the cliff and into the woods below.

The latest to get involved is Nick Ostassy, the owner of Little Mountain Transport in Errington.

In a telephone call with The NEWS, Ostassy said he is willing to throw his weight behind the drive to clean up the site and prevent further dumping in the future.

"We have container trucks, so we would like to donate a container truck," he said. "We can drop off a bin for the garbage and we can take the bin to the transfer station, free of charge," he said.

Ostassy said he's making the offer because, as a responsible area resident and business, he wants to do his bit.

"This will save them a buck or two," he said. "I grew up here and we are only too happy to help. I have seen garage and it really is shameful. It is a beautiful spot to take a hike."

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