Vancouver property owners have to pay for illegal dumping
VANCOUVER -- On any given day, garbage is illegally dumped in the back alley of the Shon Yee Benevolent Association building on Vancouver’s Jackson Street. And the non-profit association that helps new immigrants is left to clean it up.
“We try to solve it and we just can’t do it because they disregard the rules and we’re at a loss,” said Shon Yee Benevolent Association spokesperson Jack Yee.
Just a few blocks away is a makeshift camping area in Oppenheimer Park and around the area people hang in alleys and openly use illegal drugs. It’s been an issue in the city for years, but Yee says property owners are paying the price as problems spill over in the area.
Security cameras set up by the association have captured people dumping chairs, garbage, trying to break into the bins and generally creating a mess.
They’ve put up signs stating “No Dumping Allowed” but that’s had no effect.
Sometimes there’s so much illegal trash the association says it can’t keep up and it recently received a letter from the City of Vancouver threatening it with $5,000 in cleanup costs.
“That’s unfair it’s not our garbage,” said Yee, “We can’t be there 24 hours a day.”
The City of Vancouver’s chief licence inspector Kathyrn Holm stated in an email to CTV News, “The City’s Untidy Premises Bylaw requires owners to ensure discarded materials and garbage do not accumulate on their property. Per the bylaw, owners are responsible for removing items that accumulate on their property or may be subject to fines starting at $250. Should a property owner fail to remove items from their property after receiving an order from the city, the city may escalate enforcement.”
While it’s great the city is trying to spruce up the area and keep it clean, Yeesaid they are taking the wrong approach with property owners.
“I think they should at least give us some leeway and say we’ll try and solve this with you,” he said.
Yee said they’ve already been hit with fines and penalties from the contractor they hired to empty the bin because of the illegal trash and broken locks. He said the city’s heavy handed approach is not helping the problem.
“I want them to back off and not give us any fines because we are trying to solve the problem,” Yee said, “We can’t afford it.”
According to the city, it's up to property owners to prove illegal dumping has occurred and report it. But even though the Shon Yee Benevolent Association says it installed the security camera at the city's suggestion to do just that, it hasn’t helped.