To the slobs dumping their garbage in the rural areas of Central Alberta.
People living in the country already have their hands full dealing with lawbreakers — break-ins, thefts, vandalism, ATVers trespassing — and distances that impede RCMP response times.
Now, rural residents have to deal with a bunch of lazy, two-legged pigs.
County of Red Deer resident Susan Manyluk awoke recently to find a pile of water-logged carpet, smashed furniture, books, garbage bags stuffed to the brim, and other trash dumped a mere 100 metres from her home just west of Red Deer where she’s lived for 30 years.
Finding truckloads of garbage is a recurring nuisance for her and her neighbours.
Refrigerators, truck camper tops, oil drums, couches and tables also make up the list of this crap dumped in her area.
The countryside seems an easy out for some who lack the brains, energy and compunction to dispose of their waste at legitimate dump sites.
And this trashing binge is not unique to Red Deer county.
Bob Dixon, Red Deer county’s senior patrol officer, said rural dumping is an ongoing problem throughout the province.
Dixon’s office fields several complaints a month, while county workers find other unreported illegal dump sites on their own.
“It’s very frequent,” says Dixon. “Often it happens at the end of the month when people are moving and they want to clean out their houses.” Other times, the dumps are closed, so the slobs seek out a secluded alternative — the back roads.
While this practice is pain to rural residents, carelessly disposing of certain items can also pose a danger to the environment. There are toxic chemicals in some of that stuff being tossed, posing a danger to wildlife, farm animals and people living nearby.
To the organizers of this year’s Westerner Days — wasn’t that a great time?
It was a record-breaking year for the annual event that came close to hitting that elusive 100,000 attendance mark it’s been chasing for years.
When festivities wound down on Sunday, the turnstiles clicked at 92,689 people — nearly 2,000 more than the overall record set in 2008.
In fact, three new daily attendance records were set over the span of the five-day funfest.
But statistics aside, this year’s attendance indicates organizers are adjusting to Central Alberta’s explosive growth and the need for diversified entertainment and venues.
This year was the first time Erin Gobolos, marketing and sponsorship manager for the fair, can recall multiple attendance records being set in one year.
She attributes the success, in part, to new facilities and a top-notch entertainment lineup that appealed to a broad range of people.
“We get a lot of feedback all the time about what people want to see, what they don’t want to see, and we really try hard to make sure we’re producing an event that is going to attract a lot of people.”
There were a few problems, most notably a parade that seems to no longer please many attendees. But the good far outweighed the bad.
Gobolos also heaped kudos upon a dedicated staff and volunteers involved in this year’s event. The backbone of the Red Deer fair has always been dedicated staff and volunteers. And the volunteers are indispensable.
In years gone by, the event once sparkled of town and rural folks combining volunteer efforts to put on a show that drew crowds from the communities and farms around Central Alberta.
While the rural and town settings have changed dramatically over the years, Westerner Days still strives to keep a balance of our traditional roots, and the changing times.
That’s what makes it a success.
Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.