Kamloops man fined for dumping hot tub in Lac du Bois

By Chad Klassen
August 17, 2016 - 3:11pm Updated: August 17, 2016 - 5:49pm

KAMLOOPS — It's an issue that continues to create an eye sore in Lac du Bois. 

Residents disregarding no dumping signs, and dropping off their junk in protected grasslands all in an attempt to save a few bucks.

For one man the decision to dump his garbage has cost him, nearly 10 times more than a trip to the city dump. 

Conservation Officers are warning the next person who dumps their stuff will face steep consequences.

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

Conservation Officer Kevin Van Damme spends part of his busy morning cleaning up insulation in Lac du Bois, when he could be back in his office tending to more important issues. 

It's a typical week of clean-up in the protected grasslands area that continues to be a dumping ground.

"We probably get two RAPP calls, Report a Poacher and Polluter calls, every week in Kamloops related to dumping."   

But it's a picture of a hot tub, dumped in plain sight off the main road, that's gained the most attention, sparking a joint investigation involving the B.C. Conservation Service and B.C. Parks.

"I teamed up with Conservation Officers to issue some tickets to the violator who dumped the hot tub," says Area Supervisor for B.C. Parks Valerie Poulin. "We were able to track him down and went to his house and was able to talk to him." 

The hot tub has been since cleaned up by the Kamloops 4x4 Club. But after a lengthy investigation, the man, who can't be named, is facing dumping charges under the Parks Act and fines that could reach a thousand dollars. 

"On really serious dumping situations, we use the Environment Management Act, and fines can range up to $1 million for a first offense or one year in jail," says Van Damme. "On a lesser scale, if we have a smaller dumping, and someone takes ownership for it when we investigate them, we'll issue them a ticket for $575 dollars."    

That seems to be the case. When Conservation, in partnership with B.C. Parks, knocked on his door, he cooperated.

"He was pretty surprised. He kind of thought he had gotten away with it," says Poulin. "It had been a few months that went by, with the nature of our work being quite busy. So he was pretty surprise and basically admitted to what he had done." 

Dumping garbage and waste in Lac du Bois, a protected grassland area, is far too common and comfortable for some in Kamloops. 

There are bottles everywhere, palettes on the side of the road at most stops, diapers, construction materials, and unwanted mattresses. People are just too lazy or cheap to take this stuff to the dump. 

"It's unfortunate when we see these things where people are just taking the easy road out, instead of driving the same distance to the dump," says Van Damme. "They come up here in the dark and think nobody sees them, so it doesn't matter. Well, it does matter because we impact all the people who come up here every day. There are thousands of people that use this area and other areas."

For the guy who made the conscious decision of dumping his hot tub in Lac du Bois, he has a chance to redeem himself and reduce his fine to the $575 amount if he helps clean up the area. 

"Often times when we're dealing with people who struggle income-wise, we try to get them to come back and take ownership, not only writing a cheque for the damage they've created but also to participate and give back, and they think about what they've done." 

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