Airport Heights garbage problem hinged on gate removal, say residents

Some residents of Airport Heights in St. John's say the removal of a gate on a woods road has led to piles of garbage being dumped in the woods near their homes.
Craig Purchase is tired of the garbage that's piling up on a woods road near his home in Airport Heights. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

Some residents of Airport Heights in St. John's say the removal of a gate on a woods road has led to garbage being dumped near their homes. 

Craig Purchase lives on a cul-de-sac off Penetanguishene Road. People there have sent a petition to council asking the city to step in.

Purchase says the problem is with a dirt access road that leads from the cul-de-sac to an airport communications tower.

"The gate was removed in the summer by vandals and it hasn't been put back," Purchase told the St. John's Morning Show  Wednesday.

The road used to be closed, but vandals took the gate off last summer. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

"It's probably about half a kilometre long. It dead-ends at the tower and there's traffic going up there all hours of the day and night," he said.

"Three, or four, or five o'clock in the morning, there's cars flying down out of there. I don't know what they're doing up there, but they're not playing tiddlywinks."

Purchase said people are dumping garbage, including broken beer bottles, in the woods and that's a worry for dog owners who walk their pets in the area.

"My neighbour has been picking up a bag of garbage every week or two," he said.

"It's building up and it's only a matter of time before there's going to be washers and sofas and everything being left there."

Residents are also nervous about drug activity, he said.

"We're worried about needles being possibly left around and these types of things too."

The road leads to an airport communications tower, and is owned by Nav Canada. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

Purchase said he contacted the owner of the land, Nav Canada.

"And they said they had just gotten sick of having to deal with maintenance on keeping the gate operational where people were moving it around and everything and that it wasn't going to be going back up."

In August, residents petitioned city hall through their former ward councillor, Bernard Davis, before he resigned to run for a seat in the House of Assembly.

Purchase said residents were told that the city can't simply put up a gate because it doesn't own the land.

A report tabled at council on Monday said, "Nav Canada has advised that the request has been circulated to various internal departments for review and, once complete, a response will be forthcoming."       

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