LETTER: Illegal dumping has been solved elsewhere in Canada

Montreal's Ecocentres allow residents to drop off larger furniture and other items normally abandoned on street corners

Re: The perpetual headache of ‘free-cycling,’ (News, Aug. 15)

I moved to Saanich two years ago from Montreal. I thought that the illegal dumping was bad in Montreal, but Victoria is by far much worse.

I was not surprised once I learned how much it costs to dispose of large items in this city.

One thing Montreal did have, which probably curbed a lot of street dumping, was Ecocentres.

These are municipal depots that were designed to reduce the volume of waste sent to the landfill.

They accepted all kinds of material from concrete, wood and other construction materials to mattresses, paint cans, appliances, batteries and furniture.

Anything that was still usable was sent to an area where it was sold as-is. The rest was recycled. Drop-off for residents was free.

There were restrictions as to how much was allowed per household per year, but in all the years I used them, I was never turned away or charged for dumping.

Your driver’s licence was checked and logged on entry. Commercial dumpers were charged, the balance of the service was financed from municipal taxes.

But that doesn’t help anyone without access to a truck or strong backs to move the material.

Twice a year, there was large garbage pick-up.

On the appointed dates, large garbage left at the end of your driveway would be picked up, free of charge. Any other time, you could schedule a pick-up, for a fee, and the city would send an inspector to assess the cost. If you agreed to the price they would send a truck and haul it away.

Increased costs in municipal taxes to fund an Ecocentre-type scheme certainly won’t be popular with residents, but “free” drop off and a yearly large garbage pick-up would probably curb most of the illegal dumping.

Let’s face it: your broken down furniture, even with a “free” sign on it, is still garbage.

David Gerard

Saanich