Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada: The Town of Clarenville has installed surveillance cameras to stop illegal dumping and vandalism of public places, and Bonavista is considering doing the same.
Clarenville recently bought two security cameras for what chief administrative officer Bob Hiscock estimates to be about $300 each, and they plan to buy a third. Municipal employees will set them in places that have previously been trouble spots for vandalism and illegal dumping. Hiscock says even he doesn’t know where they are.
Recently someone sent the Packet photos taken on July 16 of a dryer, couch, and electric fan dumped on the Bare Mountain Trail near Summerview Heights.
Hiscock says the town will prosecute anyone caught illegally dumping by the new cameras, and they’ll be forced to pay for the cost of disposal.
“We’d much rather it be stopped than have to take people to court and lay charges, which is our intent to do,” he says. “We don’t want to do that. The best way for us not to be doing that is for people not to be dumping.”
The cameras are meant to be as much a deterrent as evidence to be used in a criminal trial, and Hiscock says he hopes they’ll make people think twice about dumping their garbage in public places. The Clarenville landfill takes large waste such as refrigerators free of charge, and it’s open on Saturdays. Hiscock says there’s no excuse to dump illegally in Clarenville, yet several reports of illegal dumping have come up so far this summer.
The Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) has a program that helps municipalities pay for security cameras to prevent illegal dumping. Hiscock says they didn’t take advantage of the program this year because the illegal dumping didn’t start until after the deadline to apply had passed.
Coun. Heber Smith, the chair of town council’s beautification committee, says the problem of illegal dumping may get worse next year, when the Clarenville landfill is scheduled to close and be replaced by a regional transfer station. People may have to start paying tipping fees to get rid of things like large household furniture and appliances, according to Smith, which would encourage more people to dump illegally.
Town staff will rotate the two cameras among different locations in Clarenville, both to catch illegal trash dumpers and vandals. Recently, the town put out a $500 award for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who destroyed signboards along the causeway to Shoal Harbour.
“Our whole idea is to put them in areas where we’ve noticed some problems,” says Smith. “If we can curtail it in those areas, those cameras are pretty versatile, that way we don’t have to keep them in one place, and if need be council in the future may see the need to purchase some more, because it is becoming an issue, both vandalism and garbage.”
Bonavista is also looking at installing cameras. Council there discussed putting four cameras up on the playground and tennis courts, along with a television monitor for $8,600 plus the cost of wiring. The town is holding off on a decision until the total cost is finalized.
Council decided to get cameras after someone marked graffiti on playground equipment and damaged swings for disabled children, according to Fitzgerald.
“We don’t want any more damage done,” she says. “We have to put something up to stop that damage. Hopefully the cameras will show who they are and we’ll take them to court. We have no other choice.”
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