Central Interior Traffic Services (CITS) out of Clearwater and other provincial partners have been working together to address an ongoing issue with commercial grain haulers dumping grain on roadside pull-outs along Highway 5 between Valemount and Avola.
The practice has been happening for a few of years and causes problems for the environment, wildlife and people driving that stretch of highway.
According to the RCMP, it’s uncertain why this is happening, but one possible reason is to reduce weight before arriving at the commercial weigh scales in Kamloops.
The BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) was recently forced to kill a black bear that had become used to hanging around one of the dump sites and was feeding on a pile of grain.
Bears and other wildlife are drawn to the grain piles, which are close to the highway, making a hazard for motorists by increasing the chances of vehicle collisions and other wildlife encounters.
There are also large costs paid to highway contractors to clean up the dumped grain piles and the money could be better spent on highway improvements in the area instead, the RCMP said.
The contractors are also at risk of wildlife encounters during the clean-up, with bears posing the biggest threat to their safety, especially if the bears are hungry and habituated.
CITS is working closely with the BCCOS Commercial Vehicle and Safety Enforcement officers (CVSE), the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MoE and CC) and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) to tackle the issue and will take enforcement action against commercial drivers and trucking companies where evidence supports charges under any applicable provincial or federal statute.
CITS has also engaged its policing partners and trucking associations in Alberta and Saskatchewan to bring awareness to stop this practice.
Police would like to remind drivers to watch for wildlife as they travel B.C.’s highways and, for their own safety, never exit their vehicle or attempt to feed any wildlife at the roadside.
Anyone with information regarding illegal grain dumping is asked to report it to any of the following agencies:
• CITS-Clearwater at 250-674-2237;
• BCCOS at 1-877-952-7277;
• CVSE at 1-888-775-8785; or
• Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477