The bright yellow stood out amongst the gravel and grass on the side of the road. The passerby knew it wasn’t part of the natural landscape in Mill Bay, so they called officials.
Brian Duncan, manager of inspections and enforcement for the CVRD was dismayed at what it was.
“We found about 70 bags of asbestos waste dumped up by Butterfield Road,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.
The bags could have been dumped late last week or over the Nov. 27-29 weekend, and possibly in the middle of the night.
“It’s all in yellow bags warning everybody to stay away from it,” Duncan said.
The quantity and location pointed to an intentional act.
This material did not just fall off the back of a truck.
“The truck backed up to the bank and it must have taken a couple of guys a good half an hour to dump it all,” Duncan said. “It’s not a pickup truck load. We’re talking at least the size of a gravel truck if not bigger.”
It’s a hard pill to swallow for South End residents who are fighting other environmental battles at present.
Many have found themselves in a years-long, and more recently, a daily struggle to protect the quality of their drinking water supply.
“We’re getting nailed with our contaminated soil and now we’re getting nailed with contaminated waste? Come on!” Duncan said.
An investigation is underway, he confirmed and Worksafe BC has been called in to help.
“We will contact the property owner to discuss proper disposal of the bags,” Duncan said.
He added that they suspect it may be somebody coming north from Victoria “to save a few bucks on gas and dumping fees.”
“This area is not well known, but coincidentally [it’s] the first light north of the Malahat, and only 30 metres from the highway.”
Malahat/Mill Bay area director Kerry Davis was equally disturbed by what he called “blatant” dumping.
“It is really shocking that someone would go to all the trouble to bag it properly and then just dump it in such a brazen way, within view of the highway,” he said.
“There is a good chance a business or homeowner paid for it to be disposed of responsibly, yet it was left for others to deal with.”
Davis noted illegal dumping is a problem in his area and it costs time and money to clean it up.
“The CVRD is doing what it can in its limited capacity to track down the offending party,” he said.
Duncan is hopeful somebody perhaps noticed a large truck parked in the area and is able to tell the CVRD what they saw.
“Please come forward with any info you have,” he said.