Illegal dumping fines not harsh enough: Dennis O'Keefe

The mayor of St. John's says the fines handed down to two of the men caught illegally dumping garbage in the city aren't harsh enough.
Dennis O'Keefe says the city will continue to be strict when it catches people illegally dumping their garbage in and around the St. John's area. (CBC)

St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe says the fines handed down to two of the men caught illegally dumping garbage in the city aren't harsh enough.

Earlier this week, two of the five men charged pleaded guilty in provincial court and were fined $500.

O'Keefe said the penalties for people caught dumping trash in the city should be harsher than that, and a $500 fine was "disappointing."

"The court has an option of applying a sentence of a fine up to $10,000 or three months in jail, but that part of it of course is in the hands of the court system," said O'Keefe.

"With the appropriate sentences being given out by the court, then the message is there for all and sundry that the city is not going to tolerate littering or illegal dumping."

O'Keefe said he hopes the crackdown by the city and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary will show people how serious the issue of littering and illegal dumping is to council.

"We have a major role to play, as does everyone who lives in the city, to clean up the city and keep it as clean as we possibly can," he said.

"It's not acceptable for anybody, be it a private individual or a contractor, to haul their stuff up in the woods."

Real estate agent not surprised

On Tuesday, the city and RNC officers announced the charges against five men caught on surveillance video dumping illegally, including one Canada Post employee.
Real estate agent Vaughan Underhay says he wasn't all that surprised to learn that a Canada Post employee was among those charged on Tuesday for illegal dumping. (CBC)

Than employee, 37, is accused of dumping "advertising mail" with the use of the Canada Post truck.

St. John's real estate agent Vaughan Underhay said he was only somewhat surprised to learn that a Canada Post employee was one of the men charged.

"At first I was a little surprised, but then again not so, because last year I had a similar incident happen with myself and my wife," he said.

In March 2013, a pedestrian called Underhay to inform him that hundreds of his flyers had been dumped in the woods just outside Torbay.

Underhay had been using the Crown corporation's mail-out service to solicit business, sending flyers out to homes in the St. John's area.

"I don't think it's Canada Post, I think it's an individual within the operation that decided on a given day they were not going to deliver the mail, and it looks like they decided to do that more than once," he said.

The employee is also facing federal charges under the Canada Post Act.


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