Hoarder amasses $52K worth of junk 

Property owner seeking relief from cleanup costs

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Artist Nadine Adina Gwatkin had no idea what she was getting herself into when she agreed to allow a friend of hers to live rent-free on her property at Ring Creek near Quest University.

The artist lived on the property from 1993 to 1999 with a man she identified as Christopher Sprague, better known as Marph. When Gwatkin left the property in 1999 she has indicated she told Marph he could live there. Over time, reported Gwatkin, her property became so overrun with rubbish that neighbours started to complain.

"I knew that Marph kept the cabin in a messy condition, but I had no idea his art work and collection of discards would spiral out of control after I left or that he would become an extreme hoarder," wrote Gwatkin in a letter to the District of Squamish (DOS) asking for a break on tipping fees she has been charged after her property was cleaned up by Coast Valley Contracting.

Gwatkin, who now lives in Oregon, argued in her letter that she shouldn't have to pay full tipping fees because she claimed much of the material on her property was scavenged from the landfill after it had been dumped so tipping fees were paid with the original dumping.

Gwatkin said she was invoiced $26,127.36 for landfill tipping fees after her property was cleared. She wants the fee cut in half.

According to DOS engineer Rod MacLeod, the fee charged to Gwatkin has already been cut in half from $52,000 after the DOS agreed to waive a mixed load fee from the rubbish that was on her property. Loads that go into the landfill containing more than five per cent recyclables are assessed an extra 50 per cent fee above the basic landfill tipping fee. The extra fee is designed to be an incentive to keep recyclable materials out of the landfill but MacLeod pointed out that in cases like this, or when a house burns down, it isn't reasonable to expect recyclable materials to be separated so exceptions are made.

Squamish mayor Rob Kirkham suggested the request be turned back over to DOS staff so staff can come back with a recommendation to council regarding the situation. Members of Squamish council agreed that was the best direction.

Alpine gets paving contract

Only one company responded to a DOS call for tender submissions for the community's road repaving program. Alpine Paving, the only company with operations in the Sea to Sky corridor, has been granted the contract to pave district roads.

The DOS is prepared to pay $1 million this season as part of a three-year deal with Alpine.

DOS staff reported that the tender deadline was extended by a week at the request of a Vancouver company that needed extra time to submit a bid. At the end of the extended deadline period the company that requested the extra time didn't submit a bid. According to DOS engineer Sam Skalsvik, the price submitted by Alpine Paving was lower than last year and was competitive compared to prices currently being charged by Vancouver companies.

Water restrictions for Squamish

Water consumption in Squamish soared in the first week of July, and the spike in water use pushed the system close to maximum capacity. The system is expected to continue to operate at maximum capacity through the rest of July and August as well.

A new Outdoor Water Use Bylaw was passed by Squamish Council to help reduce water use and the DOS is now trying to make water users aware of the new rules and the need to conserve water through the summer.

The community is now following stage two of a three-stage water use restriction system. In stage two residents are permitted to water their lawns only one day a week with even numbered addresses permitted to sprinkle between 4 and 9 a.m. and odd numbered homes allowed to water lawns between 7 and 10 p.m.

If the DOS moves to stage three then lawn watering and using residential water for car washing will be banned.

"We urge every citizen to please do what they can to conserve water during these critical weeks," said Mayor Kirkham in a news release. "Every effort makes a difference and we can all have an impact."

Details of the bylaw can be found at www.squamish.ca.

Speaking of Squamish


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