Delinquent dumpers are making life miserable for administrators and neighbours of Albert Lacombe School, as the school’s refuse bin was filled to overflowing during the summer break.
The Gazette received several calls from angry Grandin residents who were appalled at how people from the neighbourhood are using the school’s dumpsters like a public landfill.
Principal Julian Di Castri was equally disturbed.
“When I arrived to get started last week, I was just appalled at the cascading debris. I had to phone our maintenance guys,” Di Castri said.
The school’s dumpster is a perennial magnet for all sorts of garbage, such as old carpet scraps, drywall, furniture and even televisions, he said. Last year a bunch of broken up styrofoam insulation that had been dumped created a disgraceful snowstorm when the wind blew it all over the place, he said.
“I’m really perplexed that people wouldn’t have more of a social conscience,” Di Castri said. “It sort of boggles one’s mind to think you could live with yourself by dumping your trash in somebody else’s backyard.”
Diane Kossman, a spokesperson for Waste Management Inc., said its drivers will only load items that are in the bin and not those that are piled around it. When bins are overflowing, the company recommends increasing the pickup frequency.
The company also suggests locating bins in a highly visible area to avoid attracting unwanted debris, she said.
“It seems to be a bit of a trend that if someone sees one person doing it then it turns into a bit of a free-for-all,” she said.
In this case, the school had stopped its pickups for the summer, she said.
The school has tried locating its dumpsters in front of the building in the past but this didn’t reduce the amount of dumping and created an eyesore, Di Castri said. They’ve also tried locking the lids but dumpers simply pile unwanted items on top, he said.
“It’s really hard to know how to deal with it,” he said.
Sometimes the school custodian will find a name or address.
“If I get that I contact them in a neighbourly way,” Di Castri said. “We don’t want to create a huge feud here but it’s really important [for people] to realize that’s private.”
Kevin Krause, 50, whose yard overlooks the rear of the school, said the site has been a hotbed of dumping throughout his 11-year residency. He often tells people the dumpster is for the school’s private use.
“Usually I get told to mind my own business in not so polite a way,” he said. “I’d like to call the police on them but by the time the police get there, they’re long gone.”
Krause often sees children playing in and around the dumpster, which is often home to broken glass. He thinks the school should install a camera to record licence plate numbers.
Dumping at schools seems to vary by location.
Marie Gamache-Hauptman, principal of Ă©cole Marie Poburan for the past two years, hasn’t found it to be a problem at her current location. However, dumping was a periodic problem when she worked at Ă©cole Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville.
“You can tell when it’s renovation time,” she said.
Chamber of commerce president Lynda Moffat said illegal dumping is a common problem for businesses that have dumpsters. She sees the evidence all the time just driving around.
“All these people trying to rip off the system when it comes to garbage. I can’t believe it,” she said.
The proper way to dispose of household garbage that doesn’t conform to the city’s pickup guidelines is to drop it off at a landfill or Eco Station, said Darrell Symbaluk of St. Albert public works.
The nearest landfill is at 170 Street at 127 Avenue in Edmonton and the nearest Eco Station is at 11440-143 St. A truckload of less than one ton costs $81.53 to dump at the landfill while a heaping half ton costs $45 a load at the Eco Station.