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Province won't help

Forests minister turns down request for help in the effort to clean up the trash at the base of Little Mountain near Parksville

It doesn't look like there's going to be any major initiative to clean up the trash defacing the foot of Little Mountain any time soon.

Regional District of Nanaimo director Julian Fell said this week a request sent to the provincial government for help in coming up with a program to remove the accumulated garbage was turned down.

Fell, the director for the Errington-Coombs area, said he enlisted the aid of NDP MLA Scott Fraser in hopes of sparking some action — but to no avail.

In a letter obtained by The NEWS, Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations thanked Fraser for his letter, but poured cold water on the idea of any kind of provincial help.

"While I share your concerns in this matter, I am also aware that measures have been undertaken in the past to curtail or prevent this kind of activity," Thomson said.

"These measures have included the installation of fences that were subsequently vandalized and are now no longer in place."

Thomson added that the location of the refuse makes it very difficult to access in order to remove the accumulated garbage.

"This challenge, together with a limited budget available for this purpose, makes it difficult to commit to funding the clean-up of the refuse at this time," he said in the letter.

He did however suggest that access to the top of Little Mountain is administered by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and suggested arrangements could be made to implement access controls, in order to prevent more being added to the pile.

That didn't sit well with Fell.

"That's not where we were going with this," he said.

He conceded however that the site would prove difficult to access for any kind of cleanup.

"We would have to build some sort of  road to the base and use gravity to get the stuff down to it, where we could use a quad or something to move it out," he added.

"As it is, it's just too awkward."

With the province out of the picture, Fell said he holds out little hope for early action on Little Mountain, noting the site could come under the mandate of several jurisdictions and could also be included in a future land claim.