A group of good Samaritans spent hours May 11 picking up trash along Jonas Road, which connects Thompson to Thicket Portage and Pikwitonei.
Using pickup trucks, trailers and a backhoe, these volunteers, including members of Thompson city council, hauled discarded couches, refrigerators and old television sets to the dump. Mayor Colleen Smook said they managed to move 17 mattresses in their very first load.
Christina Thorne enlisted her daughters to help with this community cleanup event, partly because they use this route to visit family in Pikwitonei.
Thorne hypothesized that residents dump these larger items along the road as a last resort after the waste disposal grounds close at 5:45 p.m. on weekdays and 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
“But that’s no reason for anybody to dump garbage on the Jonas Road or any highway,” she said.
Smook said residents could be discarding items like mattresses along the side of the road to simply avoid the $20 processing fee at the dump.
“But the thing is, we have to pay to get rid of those mattresses,” she said. “We actually have Tree Suns shredding and we spend an excess of $100,000 getting that done and then we have to pay to get it to Winnipeg. So do we pass that on just to our taxpayers? Every $100,000 is a one per cent tax increase.”
Resident Charlene Kissick was far more direct in her criticism of these illicit garbage-tossers in a May 9 Facebook post, having spent a few hours cleaning up that spot the previous night.
“If you honestly can’t afford to take something to the dump, then you probably also can’t afford the truck that you drove it out there in or the gas in the truck, or the new bed you got that replaced the old one,” she wrote. “Or if the cost of dumping is truly an issue, let’s set up some type of subsidy. Let’s not let this happen again to this area or any other part of our home.”
Smook said the catalysts for this weekend clean-up event were local outfitters Cory Grant and Mark Groner, who approached the city after a number of their clients complained about the state of Jonas Road.
For anyone who is looking to do some more spring cleaning in Thompson, Smook said they can still lend a hand by participating in community cleanup month May 21-June 21, where residents will earn $3 for every bag of trash they collect after registering at Public Works.
Interested parties can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.