Separate dog poop bins here to stay in Metro Vancouver regional parks

Regional district intends to keep paying for specialized retrieval service that takes excrement to sewage treatment

A dog waste receptacle on a dog walking trail in Metro Vancouver's Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey.

A dog waste receptacle on a dog walking trail in Metro Vancouver's Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey.

Metro Vancouver will keep paying contractors to cut open bags of doggie do that are deposited in bins in Metro regional parks so the excrement can be treated as sewage instead of going in the garbage to be landfilled or incinerated.

It started as a pilot project more than three years ago but officials now say it will continue on a permanent basis, either as a specific contracted service or as part of a broader future contract for hauling garbage and recyclables.

Metro paid New Westminster-based Scooby’s Dog Waste Removal Service $60,000 last year to retrieve 97,000 kilograms from regional parks, cut open every bag, and dump the waste in with the sewage at the Iona sewage treatment plant.

The dog waste that piles up is a “very big” environmental issue for regional parks, according to Metro parks operations manager Gudrun Jensen.

It harms vegetation and exposes people and other animals to bacteria and parasites, she said.

“We have lots and lots of people that come with their dogs and that generates an enormous amount of dog waste,” Jensen said.

Nor does the region want it going in trash bins.

“It’s not strictly kosher to put into the solid waste stream because it is a biohazardous material. What we’re trying to do is lessen that load a little bit.”

Metro is amending its violation enforcement bylaw to require dog walkers to dispose of bagged feces in the designated dog waste receptacles where available instead of in the garbage or elsewhere. Violators will face a $125 fine.

Jensen said too many people aren’t using the red bins, hundreds of which are now in place in regional parks and trails where dogs are often walked.

“Our staff still find people leaving neatly tied up bags of dog poo on the side of the trail or hanging off the trees,” Jensen said. “You can’t just bag it up and leave it at the side of the trail or wing it off into the trees. You have to actually put it into a receptacle.”

Metro has estimated the 2.5 million dogs that visit its regional parks generate 500 tonnes of dog waste a year, so the recovery rate so far may be less than 20 per cent.

Jensen acknowledged much of it still ends up in the garbage.

“I wish more people would just flush it down the toilet,” Jensen added. “It would make life much simpler.”

Some local municipalities have considered paying for dog waste removal from their civic parks but none have yet signed on with Scooby’s.

Company owner Bill Droeske argues cities should also provide separate bins because the disposal of dog excrement is banned from the landfill.

“That poop is going into the landfill,” he said. “Even though it’s against the law, the cities do it.”

Droeske has one staff worker who cuts open dog waste bags and puts them in a tanker truck that goes to the treatment plant.

Cities also turn a blind eye to other sources of excrement in the garbage, he said.

“There’s probably a lot more baby poop going in the landfills in diapers, taking up a lot more space, but nobody seems to care about that.”

No caching stashes in parks, Metro says

Metro is also moving to ban people from stashing their stuff in Metro regional parks.

A new bylaw amendment prohibits anyone from leaving non-regional park property in a regional park and violators face a $125 fine.

Too many people were stashing items such as kayaks for their own later use, Jensen said, creating a liability risk.

“It’s not appropriate because we can’t control the safety of those things,” Jensen said.

Other examples include coolers and barbecues locked up at beaches, she said, as well as bikes stashed in the woods along trails.

She stressed that the aim is to stop overnight caching of equipment, not to deter people from riding a bike in a park and locking it up while they swim at a beach or hike on a trail.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Pixabay image
Surrey council moves to update city’s telecommunication antennas policy

But councillor says health and safety protocols are nearly 40 years old

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
National Police Federation members slam Surrey police transition to Surrey Board of Trade

During virtual meeting, bargaining unit representatives say municipal force ‘not a done deal’

Boosh Food founder Connie Marples (right) delivers some Boosh Food items to Christine Mohr, CEO of Options Community Services, in December, 2020. Boosh Food has just moved their operations to Cloverdale. (Photo: Moonraker PR)
Boosh Food moves to Cloverdale

‘Plant-based comfort food’ company moving to 65A Avenue

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Court makes public ‘abbreviated’ reasons for judgment in Surrey Six slaying appeals

Six men were murdered in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil planned for Chilliwack mother missing for four weeks

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Most Read