Police patrolling landfills in AH
By Chad Ingram
The Township of Algonquin Highlands has asked the OPP for increased patrolling of its landfill sites after a number of incidents involving the harassment of attendants.
“Sadly, incidents of worker harassment have been on the rise, particularly at our waste disposal sites,” reads a release from the township. “There have been increased incidents of illegal dumping, failure to pay applicable fees, dumping without authorization, damage to property, theft, and other bylaw infractions. In an increasing number of situations, attempts by landfill workers to manage these situations are met with verbal abuse, harassment and threats. This is unacceptable. Waste disposal site rules and regulations exist to protect workers, protect the public and to protect the environment. It is required that every user of municipal waste disposal sites does so with respect and in accordance with rules and regulations.”
The release stresses that all workers are entitled to a workplace free from harassment, and that any person who is abusive or disrespectful to staff may be refused service, or have their access to waste disposal sites suspended, restricted or terminated.
Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt told the Times there has been an escalating disrespect of landfill attendants taking place in the township during the past few years.
“There has been a huge increase in the number of people swearing at landfill attendants, and calling them names,” Moffatt said.
She said incidents happen in such situations as people forgetting their landfill cards, not wanting to pay fees for the disposal of certain items, or disliking the instructions they receive from landfill attendants.
While the mayor said it’s understandable that everyone has a bad day from time to time, “we’ve been letting people have bad days for a couple of years now.”
The police have been called regarding a number of incidents, and residents can expect to see police presence at the township’s waste disposal sites.
Moffatt said there have also been increases in incidents of theft from the landfill, giving the example of someone using a van and trailer to cart off a load of metal.
“That’s theft,” Moffatt said. “We sell the metal. It’s not a huge revenue generator, but it’s a revenue generator. So people are stealing from themselves.”
Moffatt condemned the behaviour in a post on her Facebook page.
“Harassment, threats, theft and dump-and-dash just doesn’t cut it in a civilized society,” she wrote. “Shame on those who can’t conduct themselves properly.”
The mayor added if residents are unhappy with the process at landfill sites, there are ways to address that.
“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,” Moffatt wrote.