News

AJ Baker Public School students spoke and council heard them by announcing amendments to littering bylaw

By Chris Funston, Woodstock Sentinel-Review

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

It doesn't pay to be a litterbug.

The Township of Zorra has amended the township yard and lot bylaw to address deficiencies with regards to littering, dumping, snow removal and to increase the set fines.

The changes were made at Tuesday's council meeting as littering fines have now been set at $200 while dumping fines have increased from $500 to $700.

At last November's council meeting at AJ Baker Public School, students spoke to council and expressed their concerns about littering on public and private land and how the environment is negatively impacted.

Karen Martin, director of corporate services, explained that previously, there was no set littering fine and it was worked into fines for dumping. While it was on council's radar, the delegation by the students reminded council of the need to tighten up the bylaw to have a specific fine for littering.

“Questions started coming in about enforcing littering fines,” said Martin. “The children were very passionate about littering and the environment.”

Students also mentioned that certain businesses that tend to accumulate litter should be responsible to supply garbage receptacles at such locations to reduce the probability of litter ending up on the ground, roadways and in rivers. Additionally, the students and council requested that the bylaw officer review all relevant bylaws, make amendments where necessary and increase the fines for littering and dumping.

The bylaw now also states that every owner shall keep their land clean, cleared and free of refuse. This includes the cutting of grass and weeds exceeding 20 cm, failure to do so will cause the property to be brought into compliance with the township recovering the costs to do so.

Along with littering and dumping, $200 fines can now be given out for depositing snow, leaves or yard waste on sidewalks, highways or private property. Also, a fine of $150 can be issued for failing to close or empty refuse containers to prevent the escape of offensive odors or waste spillage.