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Dumping garbage by the river in Chilliwack continues

This individual was tossing garbage onto a large bonfire right behind a Ministry of Environment No Dumping sign at Gill Bar on March 31. - Paul J. Henderson
This individual was tossing garbage onto a large bonfire right behind a Ministry of Environment No Dumping sign at Gill Bar on March 31.
— image credit: Paul J. Henderson

The waters of the Fraser River rushed along Monday afternoon under clear blue skies past Gill Bar out in Rosedale.

Recreational users with ATVs and dirt bikes drove down Gill Road to enjoy the spring weather. They gathered along the banks, cruised along the gravel bars, and splashed through mud puddles along the tree-lined shores.

And there, right next to the road and a Ministry of Environment “No Dumping” sign was a man, beer perched on the tailgate of his pickup truck, methodically unloading trash from his vehicle and tossing it onto a raging fire.

The scene, sadly, comes as no surprise to frequent river visitor Kevin Raffle.

“I’m not shocked one bit,” Raffle told the Times Tuesday when shown a photo of the illegal dumping.

“Because there isn’t much enforcement, they know they can go down there and pretty much do what they want. It’s frustrating for a guy like me and many others that use those waterways as a form of recreation.”

Raffle and local company Woodtone have been involved in cleanups at Gill Bar with Fraser Riverkeeper for the last seven years. Over those seven cleanups, at about three hours each, volunteers have pulled approximately 32 tonnes of garbage out of the area.

“During past river cleanups, we’ve even had people come and try to dump while we are cleaning up,” Raffle added.

Tyee Bridge, campaign director for cleanup co-organizers Fraser Riverkeeper, agreed that garbage being dumped at the river is all-too common.

“I’d say 95 per cent, get it—garbage and green waste goes to the dump,” Bridge said. “But there are people in the Chilliwack area who think dumping and burning garbage on public lands is their personal right. And it’s sad because it ruins these places for everyone.

“Avoiding a dump fee by burning or dumping trash at spots like Gill not only mistreats wildlife and habitat, it’s really kicking to the curb everyone who loves these places and uses them either for fishing, recreation or just to get away from it all.”

The 2014 cleanup this Saturday at Gill Bar marks the first year that the Crown lands have preventive signage. Not only is there the provincial “No Dumping” sign, which warns of jail time and penalties from $575 to $1 million, but there is a new City of Chilliwack “Don’t Trash Our Future” sign. The signs are the result of a joint effort between the city, provincial recreation and conservation officials, and Fraser Riverkeeper.

On April 5, Fraser Riverkeeper has partnered with Woodtone, the City of Chilliwack, Rotz Disposal, RBC and other organizations to clean up the Gill Bar area from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Volunteers are asked to bring boots, a refillable mug or water bottle (to fill up on Starbucks coffee, tea or water from the Chilliwack Water Store) and gloves if possible. For more information visit:

The event is a two-hour cleanup followed by a community barbecue.

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