VANCOUVER -- Residents of an East Vancouver neighbourhood were furious when they awoke to find more than 50 black plastic bags full of construction waste labelled “Caution: Asbestos” blocking the entrance to a back alley.

“This is horrifying. This is a highly toxic substance somebody has just dumped on a neighbourhood. It’s disgusting,” said Christy Stoll, who lives nearby.

“I’m assuming because of the way this was packaged up and labeled, that it was a professional company, maybe a demolition company, that did this. I’m assuming they get paid to take this and dispose of it.”

It’s likely whoever dumped the bags was trying to avoid the cost of disposing of them properly, which the president of the Homebuilders Association of Vancouver estimates at between $1,500 and $2,000.

“Somebody took the time to extract it well and package it well, from the pictures I’ve seen. And its just surprising at what state it’s been left for somebody else to deal with, in this case the city of Vancouver,” said Mark Cooper, who called the illegal dumping inexcusable.

“Perhaps they were having trouble getting rid of the product to begin with, they have to be a licensed transport company to handle hazardous material like that.”

In an email, the City of Vancouver said illegal dumping costs taxpayers $2 million a year. City crews cannot remove hazardous materials, but a private contractor was called to haul the bags away. If the perpetrator is identified, they could face a fine up to $10,000.