Response from Township regarding Gypsy Lane trash

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The last issue of the Times featured a front page story about a problem that has been hurting the beauty and dignity of the Gypsy Lane trail for years now. It seems that unknown people like to use the trail as an ad hoc garbage dump. The Township was contacted in advance of our story, but didn’t realize how tight our deadline was. We now have their responses to our questions to share with readers. All answers are provided by the Township’s Chief Building Official and Supervisor of Bylaw Services, Preston Stronach.

Q: Is there any plan in place to catch the violators in the act?

A: The illegal dumping is, as you know, quite a difficult thing to monitor and enforce. It requires some way of identifying the individual(s) responsible for which we can issue a set fine for violation of the Property Standards By-Law.

Q: What is the penalty for such illegal dumping if caught?

A: The fine is currently set at $300 for a first violation and escalates from there. We do our best to try and identify the person responsible, but it is quite a challenge without some kind of video footage of a vehicle. Where there are locations that have frequent illegal dumping activities, we could certainly request periodic OPP patrols, but even that requires them to be there at the time of dumping.

Q: Does the Township clean up such messes or is that trusted to local good samaritans?

A: There is no great solution here, just everyone trying to mitigate it as best they can; we encourage landowners to set up fencing and/or gates to restrict access where practical. We are always willing to work with landowners where there is a concern and certainly ask that anyone that has problems with illegal dumping to contact the office and we can try to work out a solution.

Beware of social media warriors

Since the issue of illegal dumping along Gypsy Lane and elsewhere has been a problem in North Dundas for years, one “side issue” that often arises is that of potentially false accusations being made against individuals who are accused of dumping trash. This may be because an item with their name on it was spotted amongst illegally dumped garbage. It’s important to note that circumstances make it very possible for false accusations to arise this way. Something as simple as the wind carrying a piece of trash from a private curb to the Gypsy Lane area could land someone falsely accused of illegal dumping.

Vigilante justice may seem satisfying or tempting, but it does nothing but create new victims when bad assumptions lead the “warriors” down the wrong path. Actions such as dumping trash on the lawns of those who are accused of illegal dumping only serve to hurt our community even more. If you witness suspicious activity that may constitute illegal dumping, or if you find evidence of such a violation, report it to the OPP at 1 888 310-1122.

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