Scavengers at Happy Valley-Goose Bay landfill may soon face fines
The town says there is a safety risk when you pick through the dump
The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is cracking down on landfill scavenging, and hopes to be able to fine people who break the rules.
"We're going to do what we can to put a stop to that," says deputy mayor Bert Pomeroy.
"The bottom line is anything you take from the dump is prohibited."
We want to protect the public interest and also protect the town's interest.- Deputy Mayor Bert Pomeroy
The town can ban people from the dump.
But Pomeroy said scavenging is on the rise, prompting the town to begin developing regulations to allow the municipal enforcement officer to ticket people who ignore the ban.
The town began making stricter rules at the dump in 2016 after a six-year-old girl was struck and injured by a loader working on site.
Pomeroy said the issue boils down to resident safety and the town's liability.
"We want to protect the public interest and also protect the town's interest."
Municipal enforcement officer Gary Bolger said most people are compliant, but some are returning when town staff aren't on site.
He said while people are there mainly to pick up recyclables, they will also sometimes grab whatever they feel is useful — and that can pose a safety risk.
"Some people will say, 'There's nothing here to hurt me or there's no concerns, I'm being careful with what I'm doing,'" Bolger said.
"A lot them don't realize the risk that comes with being in a dump site [including] the hazardous material that they could come across in closed garbage bags or wild animals that are in the area."