Video – Cobourg Man Left Holding the Bag as Local Governments Refuse to Help

In Local

Chris Clarke is proof of the adage “no good deed goes unpunished.”

For years, 76-year-old Clarke has taken it upon himself and sometimes with other people and groups to help clean up local roadways.

In the past he’s cleaned along the Highway of Heroes annually and has cleaned up along side-roads including Telephone Road in Hamilton Township.

Last week Clarke read a social media post about the amount of garbage south of Elgin Street opposite of Birchwood Trail.

“People complained as they were driving into the Bingo Hall about the mess here, so we decided to come clean it up.”

With his friend Pat Davis the two spent six-hours cleaning the roadside up in scorching temperatures.

Clarke said he doesn’t do it for the accolades, it’s just something that needs to be done.

He’s never understood why people don’t have more respect for where they live and put their trash in the garbage.

Initially Clarke thought it would be only one bag of garbage that he’d take home and tag for pickup.

But even Clarke was surprised when the total of bags numbered 18 that were left at the side of the privately owned road.

“I phoned the County and they did say they were going to come and get it- but they must have changed their mind because it’s still here since last Thursday.”

Unfortunately, animals are starting to chew open the bags and it’s becoming a mess.

In all his years of cleaning garbage, he said it’s the first time someone has refused to pickup garbage.

Yet just a few blocks away at what Clarke describes as “tent city” taxpayers have been on the hook for cleanup for months at the encampment.

“Nobody cares.”

“What would it take for two guys to come down and throw (the garbage) in a truck and take it to them.”

Response from Northumberland County
· The County recognizes the efforts and the evident sense of civic responsibility of individuals who volunteer their time to clean up litter from local roadways. Their commitment makes the community a better place for everyone.

· It is important to note, in undertaking such activities, that the County does not provide collection services for litter generated or located on private roadways or properties. To report illegal dumping on public lands, residents can call: 1-866-293-8379.

· To report a property standards issue for private property, please contact your local municipality’s By-law enforcement service.

Response from Town of Cobourg
Below is information on the Clean Yard and Lot Maintenance By-law for your reference.

The accumulation of garbage, waste and other debris on private property is a violation of the Town of Cobourg Clean Yard and Lot Maintenance By-law.

If a complaint is made regarding a property for such reasons, the Town of Cobourg takes steps to connect with the property owner to remediate the issue.

If no response is received, the Town of Cobourg Municipal Law Enforcement department would then initiate an order.

This Order would give the property owner a prescribed amount of time to remediate the situation.

If that timeline is not met, the Town would then arrange for the work to be completed and any costs incurred would be billed back to the property owner.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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