SURREY — What would you guess the City of Surrey spent picking up illegally dumped junk last year?
Turn out, it’s about a million dollars.
In an effort to curb illegal dumping – and the money spent to clean it up – the city has created a pilot project dubbed “Pop-Up Junk Drop,” where it will host six drop-off event throughout Surrey (which began on July 9).
And it’s completely free.
Councillor Bruce Hayne said the locations have been strategically chosen in areas that have the most illegal dumping.
“This is about making it easy,” he told the Now. “When it becomes too onerous to do the right thing there’s a certain percentage of people who do the wrong thing. We just want to make it as simple as possible.”
He said the problem is a bit cyclical.
“Of course it always gets worse at the first of the month when people move and they don’t want to move some of their stuff. So there’s that,” said Hayne. “And we see it regionally, all the municipalities are combatting it. When Metro Vancouver raises the rates for tipping fees then we’re watching very closely to see if there’s a correlation of dropping off a mattress at the transfer station. We believe there is.”
The city’s costs for cleaning up dumped garbage have doubled in the past decade, increasing from $550,000 in 2005 to almost a million dollars last year.
The City of Surrey’s engineering department has established a goal of reducing illegal dumping and its associated costs by 50 per cent by 2018.
Hayne said the city is already making changes on their end.
“We’re looking to reduce that significantly just by changing the way we’re going out with our street crews,” he revealed. “So larger vehicles that don’t have to come back to the yard as often. So we’re looking at ways to reduce the costs of collection but also ways to reduce the dumping in general.”
They’re on track this year to reduce costs by 40 per cent, to below $600,000 in 2016.
Hayne noted the city is still in negotiations with Metro Vancouver to build a new drop-off station in the Newton area.
The events will be held Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Surrey Operations Centre at 6549 148 Street. The remaining dates are Aug. 27, Sept. 17 and Oct. 1.
At the junk dump events, residents can drop off furniture, mattresses, electronics, appliances, scrap metal, renovation waste and other household items such as tires, styrofoam, mixed plastic such as toys and gently used clothes.
Unaccepted items include asbestos-containing materials, explosives, dirt, rocks, sand, drywall, paint, solvents, flammable liquids, gasoline, pesticides and car parts (aside from tires).
The City of Surrey continues to offer its large item pick-up program where residents can place up to four large items at curbside for collection for free. To schedule a large item pickup or for more information about the Pop-Up Junk Drop events call 604-590-7289.