By Chad Ingram
For the second consecutive week, I am writing a column about landfills in Algonquin Highlands, which, in more than a decade of writing these things, has to be some kind of record.
Last week, I wrote about council’s rightful decision to forgo a transfer station at the Hawk Lake landfill when the site is closed in a couple of years’ time. This week, I’m writing about the ongoing, increasing and abhorrent harassment of landfill attendants by some township residents.
As a story in this week’s issue explains, the Township of Algonquin Highlands has taken the extraordinary step of asking the OPP to regularly patrol its landfills in order to reduce these incidents. These incidents include landfill attendants being sworn at and called names that we would never print in this newspaper. This behaviour is obviously far beyond acceptable. It is not fine.
These incidents seem to stem from situations where people have forgotten or not brought their landfill cards with them, are unhappy to learn they must pay a fee for the disposal of certain items, etc., etc.
Landfill attendants are of course simply doing their jobs by enforcing these regulations. They don’t make the rules. Council does.
As Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt wrote in a social media post regarding the situation, “If you don’t like the process, you call your councillor, you write a letter, you make a delegation or you participate in the fully public process that sets the hours, rules and fees; you don’t bully up the contract landfill workers.”
Presumably, the people harassing landfill attendants are not going to swear at the mayor, or any other member of council, for that matter. Frankly, the reality is there is a segment of the population who feel fine displacing their general life stresses and anger onto people who work service jobs. We’ve all seen it. The woman berating the grocery store cashier, or the man yelling at the guy behind the fast food counter. It’s a sad and pathetic part of the human condition. And it’s not fine.
So, if you happen to be one of the people who’s sworn at a landfill attendant and you happen to be reading this, I’m going to be so presumptuous as to suggest a couple of things. The first is that you take a long, hard, introspective look at yourself, and the second is that you think things through very logically. Do you think the guy you just swore at has not recorded your licence plate number? Vehicles are traceable. You’re traceable.
The other thing is that now that the township is taking these measures involving staff and police resources, it means that all residents of Algonquin Highlands are involved, because a portion of our tax dollars is being spent to deal with your bad behaviour.
So, perhaps instead of wasting a bunch of public money, you could just spend a few dollars on the anger management therapy you seem to require.