The Gravenhurst Habitat for Humanity ReStore is reminding locals that their mission is to provide affordable housing, not waste removal services.
Illegally dumped furniture sits next to dumpsters at the Bracebridge Habitat for Humanity Restore. The charity says illegal dumping has forced the charity to pay for removal out of its own pockets. (Submitted photo)
Executive director Ellen Frood said illegal dumping has been taking place on the Muskoka Beach Road facility’s grounds since August, forcing the charity to pay for removal out of its own pockets. The waste has repeatedly been left near dumpsters on-site in the hours after the ReStore closes.
“We brought a dumpster in, a large unit, and we filled it full of furnishings that have been dropped here,” she said. “We filled up this dumpster, sent it away, and there was a cost for us to do so and dispose of, and the next morning I came to work there were pieces on the ground outside the dumpster.”
Frood said some of the garbage is furniture, including beds, mattresses and chairs.
“I don’t know if they feel because there’s a garbage bin they can just drop it and we’ll put it in the garbage bin,” she said. “To me, it’s just a huge disappointment, where a charity would work in the community and build homes for low-income families and work to make a better community, and then something like this happens.”
She reminds local residents that the cost of hauling away other people’s garbage takes away from those in the community who need those funds.
“It means we have that much less money to direct towards the building of affordable homes for people, and that’s not right,” she said.
According to the Habitat for Humanity website, ReStores accept new and gently used items that range from furniture to hardware, lighting fixtures and even kitchen sinks. People looking to donate items to the Bracebridge ReStore can call 705-646-0106 ext. 3 to find out if the items are right for the store.
Habitat for Humanity isn’t the only area charity to experience problems with illegal dumping. The Salvation Army complained of similar problems in 2011, and one of its locations in Bracebridge has had to install a surveillance camera to ward off unwanted drop-offs.
In reports to the District of Muskoka, the Salvation Army reported having to pay thousands of dollars in tipping fees for waste removal.