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New ‘no littering’ signs at Ferry Island

New “no littering” signage is being put up at the Ferry Island parking lot in response to a complaint submitted to the city, but there is indecision over who should enforce littering laws along the shoreline.

“This is the first official complaint we have received on this matter, but we do recognize it is a problem at this site as well as many other sites along the river,” director of leisure services Carmen Didier said in an email.

“The city does not have the jurisdiction, nor do we have the resources to be doing litter collection on the shorelines of Ferry Island.”

Didier went on to say that it is the responsibility of anglers to pack out what they pack in, and that the new signs will make that clear. The initial draft of the two signs read “Be a Steward of the Skeena/Dispose your litter in the garbage cans provided” and “It’s your shoreline/Keep it clean.”

At the regular council meeting July 22 there was discussion over who could enforce the rule, and if threat of fines should be included on the signs.

An official from the department of Fisheries and Oceans said afterwards that it is not one of the DFO's current functions to enforce littering laws on shorelines.

B.C. Conservation officers have that power, however there are only a few of them working in the area.

Mayor David Pernarowski brought up the littering issue during the new business section of the meeting, and initiated a discussion about solutions.

“There needs to be some education or some signs and maybe more garbage cans,” he said.

There are already Hid-A-Bins located at the end of the Ferry Island parking lot, and councillor Bruce Bidgood said that putting new bins closer to the water didn't make logistical sense.

“The whole notion of putting a garbage can proximate to the shoreline is not a good idea because of the changing water level,” he said. He also said that any rotting fish offal left in the garbage can could become a smell issue.

“Essentially a sign that says 'you will be fined' for leaving garbage down there would be the most appropriate strategy,” Bidgood said.

“It should say 'pack out what you pack in', Christiansen said of the signs, and suggested educational postings on the bulletin board about how to dispose of fishing-related garbage.

Councillor Marylin Davies had another sort of suggestion.

“Why don't we talk to the tourism group to see if they can come up with an idea,” she said.

Davies believes this could turn into a more imaginative campaign involving perhaps the creation of a symbol used to promote shoreline cleanup.

“The reality is that there are only a small number of people who are making the mess and it is the good Samaritans and stewards of the shoreline who are picking up behind them,” Didier said.

 

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