Scott Murray grew up in Canyon but he hasn’t spent more than a day or two at time here since he left 15 years ago.
What he found while visiting in the last week has left him shaking his head. And busy cleaning up the mess he found on a dirt bike ride around his old haunting grounds.
“Does Canyon have a dump now?” he asked, rhetorically. “It didn’t used to have one, but it looks like things have changed.”
In Creston to visit family, Murray, an avid outdoorsman who now resides on Fort St. John, is appalled at the garbage being dumped close to Canyon bridge. It’s a scenic area that provides an inviting view for people who like to walk where they can see the rushing Goat River in the canyon below. It has also become a dumping ground for trash and animal carcasses.
Murray was so disgusted with what he found he devoted about 10 hours on Sunday to cleaning up some of the mess.
“In about a half-kilometre beside the bridge, I filled 90 bags of garbage,” he said on Monday. “And that’s not even a start.”
While he was busy filling bags with trash, the former Creston minor hockey referee talked to 15 or 20 people, he said, who were out walking, some with dogs or children.
“They were all disgusted by what they saw,” he said.
In addition to his efforts to clean up some of the mess, Murray has posted some videos on his Facebook page, showing others what he found and advocating for action to prevent the dumping.
Concrete barriers placed at the pullout beside the bridge have been moved, likely by drivers looking for a little privacy while they carry out their illegal dumping activities.
“Concrete barriers don’t work,” he said. “I think there needs to be a chain link fence with an opening too small for cars and trucks, but wide enough for people, motorcycles and quads. And maybe there should be some cameras set up in the trees so dumpers can be identified and charged.”
Murray said he got a dirty look or two when he stacked garbage bags against, ironically, a no refuse sign at the pullout, but people were more sympathetic when he explained what he was doing.
“One lady even stopped and loaded about 20 bags into her truck to take to the landfill,” he smiled.
Murray said he visited Creston Town Hall and was told the area was part of the Town of Creston. He plans to contact Regional District of Central Kootenay Area B director John Kettle to see if he can take the collected trash to the landfill in Lister without being charged.
“I’ll pay the fee if I have to,“ he said. “But maybe part of the problem with dumping is that people think the fees are too high, or that they don’t want to pay at all. Whatever the reason, something should be done — we should be looking at the beauty of this valley when we go out, not at other peoples’ garbage.”