Time to consider ditching bag tags for garbage levy

One of the worst habitual behaviours in PEC is the dumping of household garbage in remote locations.

We live with a daily tally of bottles and cans and Tim Hortons and MacDonalds detritus. In addition, there are both routine -one or two garbage bags at a time- and mind-boggling “dumps”. Recently, over a few days, a pile of twenty-odd bags appeared near our home; then, in a different place, about ten more; then, in another spot, a couple of cardboard boxes with dead electrical equipment and a discarded bolster from a sofa.

Usually, the “drops” occur in the early morning. This gives animals time, in the dark, to rip the bags apart and scatter the contents. However, a few days ago, in broad daylight, some “community-minded” citizen unloaded two garbage bags next to our property. Then, feeling self-satisfied, absconded. This has to stop! It’s thoughtless, ugly, unhealthy, and messy.

I believe people “dump” their household garbage to avoid paying the $3 bag tag levy. But someone does eventually pay.

In the case of the bottles and cans and fast food containers, my wife and I pick them up and include them with our garbage/Blue Box. We pay.

In the case of the ten and twenty bag pile, a municipal employee’s time was taken up when each “dump” was reported, then County workers and heavy equipment were dispatched (twice) to clean up. You paid.

In the case of the electrical equipment, a Shire Hall employee took the call and a truck and driver were dispatched to clean up. You paid.

In the case of the two bags a few days ago, I prevailed upon the garbage truck operators to take the bags and thanked them for their help. Had they not, I would have called Shire Hall. You would have paid.

If the “dumper” is identified (sometimes s/he is) and charged, the County prosecutes. Again, you pay.

I am sure you are getting the point.

These “dumps” are costing County taxpayers a lot. Imagine how it adds up over and over and over again!

I have a suggestion for Council: kill the $3 bag tag program. In its place, affix a $50 garbage collection levy to the annual property tax everyone in PEC pays. With about 7,000 properties taxed in PEC, that’s $350,000 in revenue. It should cover the lost bag tag revenue. If it’s too much, levy $40. If too little, levy $60. Or, make the levy a percentage of the property tax paid say 1.5 per cent. On a $1,000 property tax bill, that’s $15 On $3,000- $45. This is graduated those better able to afford the cost would pay slightly more.

With bag tags extinct, there would be little incentive to “dump” household garbage in remote locations.

Benefits would accrue to all of us:

•No more Shire Hall employee time would be wasted costing taxpayer dollars,

•No more of the County’s Works personnel and equipment resources would be wasted … costing taxpayer dollars,

•No garbage, no prosecution of offenders … using taxpayer dollars, •A potential health problem would be muted, saving taxpayer dollars, and;

•Because no household garbage would be dumped, the County would look better.

The added bonus? Scofflaws would finally pay, either through their property taxes or in the rent they give to landlords who would undoubtedly pass along the levy.

One last thing, the other day my wife and I encountered a young bicyclist sitting on the rocks at the South Shore. We said hello as we passed and a short conversation ensued as social distancing was observed. He was from BC, on a cross country tour. When he found out we lived where we lived, the first thing out of his mouth was to ask how we managed to co-exist with so much garbage scattered along the shore, by the side of roads, and in the bush.

People notice!

Brian Flack