Piles of litter and debris found scattered on a Maple Ridge property have left the private land owner dealing with the messy discovery, according to the city.
The city confirmed RCMP and bylaw officers attended the property last week, warned people found on site they were trespassing and asked them to leave with their belongings. The city said the message was delivered as a public service, as the property owner had concerns about staff going alone.
The wooded area in question lines the Fraser River across from 227th Street and the Haney Bypass. A number of bikes, bike parts and other litter could be seen in footage from CTV’s Chopper 9, but volunteers conducting a garbage cleanup in the vicinity over the weekend say they found a lot more.
“A lot of bicycles, barbecues, barbecue and propane tanks,” said Vincent Royer, one of the founders of the recently formed Plastic Battle Society. He added they also found “sharps."
“Clearly the size and the complication of those things that we found were just out of our scope.”
Royer’s partner, Sara Johnston, also took part in the volunteer cleanup, but what they ended up discovering surprised her.
“It was quite shocking to see the amount of stuff that was there,” Johnston said, and added they are concerned about plastic pollution being carried by the river to the ocean.
“The river's edge is quite sensitive.”
They posted multiple photos of what they came across on social media. Along with garbage strewn around the site, one photo also showed what appeared to be a tent set up in the woods.
In an email, the RCMP told CTV News Vancouver they were aware of some “homeless activity” in the area. The city said no one was available to comment on camera, but added there is no “permanent encampment” at the site.
When asked if the city knew where the people found at the site had gone, or whether any assistance was being offered, they directed CTV to contact BC Housing.
The private land owner is not commenting, but is now responsible for the cleanup, according to the city, which says: “The costs associated with the regular inspection, care and maintenance of properties are borne by the private property owners.”
The city said nothing has been dumped in the water, and a conservation officer on site also said the service had no concerns. The city expects the clean-up to take a couple of days.