Members of the Okanagan Forest Task Force discovered an illegal dump containing large amounts of oil and antifreeze off Westside Road Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Kane Blake photo)

Members of the Okanagan Forest Task Force discovered an illegal dump containing large amounts of oil and antifreeze off Westside Road Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Kane Blake photo)

Illegal dump containing oil, chemicals found off Westside Road

Okanagan Forest Task Force found more than 30 jugs of oil and antifreeze at the location

An illegal dump containing large amounts of noxious waste has been found on Westside Road near Vernon.

Kane Blake, who runs the Okanagan Forest Task Force, received a message about the illegal dump at a remote location off Westside Road, which runs along the west side of Okanagan Lake.

When the Task Force went to the location on Friday, they found a sizable pile of garbage — some of which poses an environmental hazard.

“There’s a ton of full oil jugs and antifreeze jugs,” Blake said, adding his team also found household garbage and numerous car parts.

READ MORE: Illegal dumping on the rise in Kelowna amid pandemic: forest clean-up group

Blake said he counted 27 jugs of oil, varying from a quart to five gallons in size, as well as four or five jugs of antifreeze. Most of the containers were full, but some had either been tossed empty or leaked before the crew arrived.

He called the illegal dumping on Westside Road “unacceptable,” especially considering the abandoned oil and chemicals.

“It’s unfortunately the perfect spot for dumping because it’s not a busy area,” Blake said. “This is the first [illegal dump] to my knowledge in this area, but now it’s got my attention.”

The Task Force was formed in 2016 by a group of outdoor enthusiasts concerned about illegal dumping in Okanagan forests. Since then, Blake says they’ve removed close to 300,000 of garbage from Vernon to Peachland.

Blake says fines for illegal dumping can vary, but tend to be higher when there is an environmental hazard at play.

“It’s a lot different than just throwing out some papers out of your vehicle or a single garbage bag. Now we’re looking at chemicals.”

Blake said the Task Force works closely with the RCMP and the BC Conservation Service. The group responds to reports of illegal dumping, reports suspected stolen property to the police and keeps an eye out for reported stolen vehicles while in the bush.

To report illegal dumping on Crown lands, contact BC Conservation’s RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-877-952-7277, or if the situation is not an emergency, fill out and submit an electronic RAPP form here.

READ MORE: Property dispute leads to police presence on Westside Road

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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