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Coquitlam's Bylaw Cracks Down on Vandalism, Littering and DumpingCity of Coquitlam
COQUITLAM – If the public chooses to vandalize, illegally dump or litter in Coquitlam – from dropping a cigarette butt on a sidewalk or flicking a gum wrapper from a car window to dumping drywall in the woods – they will soon face heftier fines.
After overhauling a former 50-year-old bylaw, Coquitlam plans to adopt a new Litter and Desecration Prohibition Bylaw on June 26 with broader language and higher penalties intended to provide new tools and deterrents to prevent graffiti and other vandalism, littering, and illegal dumping of both liquid and solid materials.
Under the new bylaw, the fines for dumping an old sofa or drywall on public property are $400-500 (up from $150). Litterbugs could be fined $150-250, while those caught graffiting, damaging or vandalizing public property could pay up to $500. Clean-up costs could also be applied.
Changes to the bylaw include:
- Adding a specific ban on dumping any construction materials and hazardous waste;
- Adding graffiting in public places as an offence, along with existing prohibitions on damage or vandalism to any public property such as buildings, equipment, plants, or trees;
- Separating general littering, including tossing trash from a car window, from larger scale littering, such as applying flyers to cars in a parking lot, and dumping large items, construction materials and hazardous waste.
- Enabling staff to ticket the registered owners of vehicles involved in dumping or littering – allowing for easier whistle-blowing by the public; and
- Expanding the sliding scale of fines to reflect the impact and costs – for example, $150 for discarding a cigarette butt on the street, compared to $400 for disposing of a rusty old appliance in the forest and $500 for dumping drywall and tile from a home renovation.
Illegal dumping of household and construction waste on public lands is an ongoing concern – particularly when the materials are hazardous, such as paint or drywall. Many safe and convenient disposal options exist, including:
- Curbside collection of garbage, recycling and organics;
- Four free pickups a year of large household items for homes receiving curbside collection (info: www.coquitlam.ca/lipu);
- Coquitlam Transfer Station on United Boulevard, open every day of the year except for Dec. 25 and Jan. 1;
- Town Centre recycling depot in Town Centre Park (closed statutory holidays);
- Several full-service Encorp Return-It Depots and private recycling depots;
- The Waste Wizard search tool at www.coquitlam.ca/trashtalk that explains how to properly dispose of items; and
- The annual City-Wide Garage Sale (www.coquitlam.ca/garagesale).
Litter and graffiti are smaller-scale problems than illegal dumping, but are also an ongoing concern. Aside from marring the beauty and enjoyment of parks and public spaces, they often lead others to do more of the same.
The City encourages its residents to be good neighbours – for example, by not throwing household trash in park or street garbage cans, not littering (including cigarette butts), and maintaining their property. More information is available at www.coquitlam.ca/goodneighbours.
The new Litter and Desecration Prohibition Bylaw brings Coquitlam’s penalties for littering, dumping and vandalism into line with what has been adopted in nearby cities, while complementing existing City bylaws that ban these activities in parks and on private property.
Residents who need information about how to dispose of items can find resources at www.coquitlam.ca/trashtalk or contact email@example.com or 604-927-3500 with any questions.
Bylaw, Licensing and Animal Control Supervisor
City of Coquitlam