One of the messages on the newsroom voicemail Tuesday morning was from someone who had just returned from a trip to the U.S. The caller noted our front-page headline, “Rancher contends with persistent dumping.”
“Good ol’ small-town Kamloops,” said the message. “I love it. We just came back from where the headline would have been something like ‘Mass murderer, etc. etc.’ Nice to be back to Cowtown.”
While Kamloops media have had to report their share of murders, even multiple murders, it’s great to live in a community in which headlines about them are the exception rather than the rule.
That doesn’t, however, diminish concern over the problem of illegal rural dumping. It’s been an environmental threat for many years, and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District seems unable to get a handle on it.
It’s not for lack of trying — the TNRD’s environmental department would like to stop it as much as anyone. That’s why it’s working on an anti-dumping bylaw.
Tuesday’s story was about ranchers Lyn DeLeeuw and Douglas Halliday, who face a never-ending struggle to haul away truckload after truckload of household junk and garbage from their ranch on Rose Hill Road, because drive-by dumpers keep leaving it there.
As any Kamloopsian knows, Rose Hill is arguably the most beautiful grassland ranching area in Kamloops. A few hobby-farm monster homes compete with historic ranches now, but nothing can detract from its beauty, and a drive along Rose Hill Road on a sunny weekend is a pleasant diversion for urban dwellers.
There are those, however, who see any area outside the city, any spot out of view, as an opportunity to avoid dumping fees. They stop, pitch out their garbage bags and junk, and drive away, apparently thinking that if it’s out of their sight it’s out of everyone’s way.
But the stuff — much of which isn’t biodegradable — accumulates, polluting the ground and nearby streams, and uglifying the landscape.
Rose Hill certainly isn’t the only area with the problem. Barnhartvale, the North Thompson, favourite fishing areas, dirt-bike country, all have been hit and are being hit with this scourge.
Unless the offender leaves a calling card in the form of old mail, it’s almost impossible to catch anyone — until a bylaw is in place it won’t result in much action, anyway. Recreation groups, 4-Hers, outdoor sports clubs and private land owners can only keep working at cleaning it up.
And we, the people who receive the gift of our great outdoors, can only keep watch for anyone who desecrates the land in this manner, and let the TNRD or Conservation service know about it.
Because here in Cowtown, it’s a big deal.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.