Days 228 of a 365-Day Portrait Of Canada: Smelt Brook, Cape Breton Garbage Dump Debate

Smelt Brook Garbage Dump Debate

(feel free to leave comments but please show some respect for the children who use this in their studies and reframe from using profanity and overly negative comments.)

You be the judge, the locals have emailed me and insist all these lobster traps, engine blocks, tins cans and 1000’s of feet of rope have all washed ashore in the one spot. Do you think this is possible?I do not wish to insult the residents of Smelt Brook, but someone in the area in my mind has been dumping their trash over the cliff edge thinking it’ll just magically just go away. I will take this opportunity to also say that the boat launch and bushes were full of trash too. Nova Scotia without question had the most litter on its beaches of all the Maritime provinces, most of it is directed can be directly linked to fishing industry. I have witnessed fisherman cutting of 12 inch pieces of rope off their gear and casually tossing it over board. WHERE do you think this trash ends up? Please see the comments below and see what the locals think of my reporting on what i saw, please look closely at the below photograph and you be the judge as to whether or not this trash washed ashore. Notice, its half way up the cliff side and seemingly in a pile. It should be noted that there is a fishing shack not 50 feet away from this pile of fishing industry trash. Also the boat launch looked more like an industrial park with wood scraps and fuel containers, old lobster traps in every nook and cranny. No disrespect intended to Smelt Brook, but please I must report on what I see, or would you rather me lie or turn a blind eye and tell you I never saw even one piece of trash the whole time I was in the Maritimes? The truth can sometimes hurt, but this is what it takes to create dialogue and change within peoples minds. I hope next time I’m in the area this fishing industry dump is cleaned up.

Like I said, no disrespect intended to the people who call this area home, but this level of trash is embarrassing for not just Cape Breton, but all of Canada. For two months while travelling through Nova Scotia, I kept my month shut and didn’t say anything about the garbage on pretty much ever beach I visited but after witnessing this colossal dump, I had had enough.

If a local resident would like to send a new up to date photo showing that this cliff edge has been restored I would be happy to publish the good news.

Smelt Brook stuff pile to be burned later.

Please visit the Facebook group entitled “People against Tim Van Horn” to see who wants this issue/me to go away. This group only makes Smelt Brook look even worse then it did before.

Yet more trash in Smelt Brook

The Bushes in Smelt Brook

Think you really know what’s going on in the world?

I put forth a challenge to each of you to sit and watch these videos, perhaps you’d rather not know what this trash is doing to the worlds sea creatures.

Please look at what garbage is doing to shore birds in the Pacific , do we want this in Cape Breton? No and that’s why I’m speaking up, because these birds can’t talk. If I can save one bird with this post I’ll be happy.

These photographs of albatross chicks were made on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, none of the plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the untouched stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.
Message from the Gyre


36 Responses to “Days 228 of a 365-Day Portrait Of Canada: Smelt Brook, Cape Breton Garbage Dump Debate”

  1. 1 Greg LaRusic
    January 7, 2010 at 3:06 am

    great photo’s Most I have seen for real but just a note. Cabot’s landing is in Sugarloaf not Asby Bay Take more of these great shots. Others should come see for one’s self. Greg

  2. 2 Amy (Gwinn) Babek
    January 10, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Born and raised in Cape Breton, loved in Aspy Bay until I was 22, moved to the USA, love these shots, so many familiar faces

  3. 3 Wendy ( Doucet) MacDonald
    January 12, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Love the shots ~! It is Home to us. We have taken it for granted and we should truly cherish it .

    My grandmother, Alexanderia Dixon grew up in South Harbour. And my parents have a home in South Harbour on her property. It’s great when the whole family can get together and go to all the beaches you had photographed. The nice thing about it is that there is never more than a handful of people at them.

  4. 4 Starr Wilkie
    January 12, 2010 at 6:56 am

    -My grandparents,Mr.Wilson & Mrs. Sadie Gwinn were residents of Sugar Loaf & Aspy Bay…….and I often spent time visiting them & other family in the area…
    -these pic’s sure bring wonderful memories to mind…..thanks
    -the photographer really captured the true beauty of the region….but it is the shots of the residents that touched my sentiments the most

  5. 5 Rita Briand
    January 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Looking at your pics of Cabot Trail and would like to say I live in Smelt Brook .It’s ocean is far from being a garbage dump.The old traps lying on the shore line are mostly from storms and thge men do burn them at a later date. Ifeel you should change the caption on this.

  6. 6 Michelle Whittty
    January 12, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Beautiful pictures but not so nice comments,was someone trying to put Gods country down.I have been in Alberta sence 6 years and the beauty of home is what keeps me going,i driven across Canada and have seen lots of places but the beauty of Cape Breton can not be matched or the kindness of its people.

  7. 7 Andrea Anderson
    January 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    LISTEN TIM What the hell are you doing putting pictures on and sayings things like “Smelt Brook garbage dump appears to be the ocean!”,. Hello like the rest of the world we do have storms here to, and much of the time if fishing season is going we lose our gear and sure some times it comes to shore ,but we do clean it up after , so get your facts clear and one more thing did you get permission for anyone to take these pictures did you even ask anyone could you take their pictures , and please if you are ever around here again I will say this you will not be welcome

  8. 8 Gladstone MacKinnon
    January 13, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Hey Tim,

    I am a fisherman from Smelt Brook, Nova Scotia. Imagine my dissatisfaction to find “your interpretation” of your photograph entitled Smelt Brook garbage dump appears to be the ocean!

    You are right about one thing – all the debris does not wash up on shore – It is gathered, year after year, both on the water, and on the beaches by the fishermen, their wives and their children. Each time there is a storm, fishermen lose thousands of dollars worth of gear. And so, it is brought ashore and piled, in one spot, out of sight, on Smelt Brook shore, to be burned at a later date. They do this so it doesn’t end up on the beaches, it doesn’t interfere with sea life such as leatherback turtles, seals and whales which get tangled in ropes, and also for our own boats and for recreational users who can also get ropes tangled in their gear.

    I’ve seen your comments about Smelt Brook and I’ve also read your bio, but I find it very strange that you can travel through Alberta, Quebec, and Ontario, etc. and find no flaws – which is great because they are beautiful places, however, they also have pollution and garbage and poor roads and probably not so much the hospitality that I’m sure you received from the MacIsaac’s, and others, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

    You took a picture of something and made assumptions. A picture makes a thousand words. You made a judgement, and published it for the world to see. You made an error. You can’t judge a book by its cover. Still feel like being the judge? You could probably be sued for defamation.

    Unlikely that will happen, and you’ll probably retire here, like many others do, in our wonderful garbage dump we call Smelt Brook.

    PS: And for your “saucy” comments to Andrea, you should check on some Alberta stats if you wanna talk PCB’s. Just remember, Alberta is one of the biggest polluters for the environment and burning a few traps and old fish gear doesn’t even come close to the environmental impact Alberta has on the world.

    Gladstone MacKinnon

    • 9 celebratecanada
      January 13, 2010 at 2:51 am

      Dear Sir,
      Answer this question, why would you gather all this trash up from the beaches only to dump it on the beach again?
      Doesn’t make one bit of sense. To spend all that energy gathering it up only to dump on the ocean’s edge is anti-productive. Would it not make more sense to haul it to the landfill site in the area instead of “dumping” it on the beach again? Won’t the storms just take more of that collected trash back out to sea?
      Hardly what I’d call an “out of sight spot” either as its the only ocean view point in the village. Sorry but I don’t buy this explanation and smelt Brook should try to find a better spot to dump their trash, like the landfill.
      This trash pile was created from the fishing shack not 50 feet away, take a walk around the area in question and see for yourself, the boat launch was a complete mess too!
      Dear sir, I’d suggest you try to think without borders and see Canada as a country and try not to take what I’ve written as a personal attach on your community. I have a vested interest in that beach too and that is exactly why I published this not so pretty photo, so we all may address a countrywide problem of the garbage we Canadians create. I’m shamed to tell you I found 100’s of these fishing industry trash piles across Nova Scotia. More trash pile then any other province in Canada.

      Are we Canadians still living in the olden days who feel its okay to dump stuff out of sight and then burn it later?

      Dear sir, explain the two engine blocks and crankshafts to me?

      Dear sir, explain all the nails and metal bits left behind after the fire has burned out? Does someone collect all that trash too?

      I see this as a problem for Canada and not Smelt Brook to address. No one owns that beach anymore than anyone else in Canada. Its my beach too.

      Without question this is a dump, whether it was intended to be burned at a later date or not, to the untrained eye this is trash in a pile on the ocean, translation a “dump.”

      I can bet you one thing, after the 1000’s of people who have visited this blog today, Smelt Brook will think twice next year about dumping their trash near the ocean to be burned later.
      Which was my intent in the first place to create dialogue and change so that others don’t have to stare at a pile of trash in Smelt Brook or any community for that matter.
      It should be noted I didn’t say a word for the first two months I was in Nova Scotia about these fishing industry trash piles, but after seeing this one I said screw it, I’ve got to say something about this wide spread problem. Remember this none of you own the environment, we all share it with nature.

      I’d suggest instead of spending your time writing me and telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about, take a walk down to the beach and pick up some trash.

      This matter is closed on my end, all your comments will be posted to show the world your thinking etc, thanks for the interest. Cape Breton I loved you!

      • 10 Floyd MacKinnon
        July 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm

        You have Waaaayy too much time on your hands….seems to me that , if you are that interested in ‘cleaning-up’ Smelt Brook (as if it needs cleaning up) than why don’t you do it YOURSELF !!! otherwise stop wasting everyone’s time, even though YOU seem to have time to waste.

  9. 11 chris chaisson
    January 13, 2010 at 2:30 am

    well in this one spot of about 50 feet or so i would agree with you tim that someone has been abusing our fantastic landscape around northern cape breton and i have seen a few other places around i will be driving by there tomorrow but to say that all of smelt brook dumps there gardage into the ocean is a bit harsh but then again maybe it will make people take some action against the one or few that have done this . I enjoyed the pics a lot i remember seeing you there for the blessing of the boats .ne ways take care and i hope you dont think that of all people in the area for the actions of one or a few.keep the pics comming

    • 12 celebratecanada
      January 13, 2010 at 2:59 am

      Dear Chris,
      Due to the very hurt feelings of the Smelt Brook folks I have toned down the “dump” wording in the titling of the photo. It is hard to deny that all this trash could be called anything other then a “dump”, but out of respect for everyone who feels I’m trying to shoot their community down on the world stage I will tone it down. I will be doing a piece on the trash in Nova Scotia, look for it in the coming days. Tim Van Horn

      • 13 chris chaisson
        January 13, 2010 at 4:25 am

        sounds good tim it is nice to see people are talking about it i hope people will change there way of thinking that it is only a little bit if everyone did this it would be alot of little bits. cant wait to see the piece.thanks for the reply chris

  10. 14 Rita Briand
    January 13, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Tim, I would just like to say there are several beautiful views of the ocean from various locations in Smelt BROOK. Would really like to see some of them on your site.I did enjoy your photos in spite of the caption.

    • 15 Tim Van Horn
      November 25, 2010 at 11:10 pm

      Hi Rita, I’m wondering if you might have the name or number for Donald MacIassic.I’m trying to send him his photo, but don’t have an address. Would you mind getting it to me. Thank you

  11. 16 ray briand
    January 13, 2010 at 6:03 am

    hey tim,
    u don’t have to tone down shit cause the damage is donw now u got what you want so changeing the word means squat now.your just a piece of crap behind a camera and thats a good place for you to hide !!!!!!!! come on back down and take some more bullshit pictures na that’s not gonna happen on my watch !!!!!!!!

  12. 18 Lisa Leblanc
    January 13, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Hi Tim,
    I will agree on one thing,people should not throw out garbage and destroy our beautiful scenery. But who the hell are you to come here and take pictures and put them on the internet and make remarks like you have. I myself have done some traveling, maybe you should start in your own back yard instead of worrying about mess that fisher men are making. Why don’t you take some real pictures on how hard these people work. It’s not all about the boat rides or the great feed of lobsters. It almost sounds like you had a pretty good vacation using the fishermen for your pictures! Got something against old fishing shacks or what? Sorry we don’t have condos to put our fishing gear in to. Next time try taking pictures of the homeless. Do the world some good start with your own home town.

  13. 19 Jimmy Cluny
    January 13, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Wow, I can see why you wanted to do a write up about that mess. Not good, sometimes old habits are hard to break, maybe this will get the ball rolling.
    Jim Cluny (From Nova Scotia)

  14. 20 ray briand
    January 13, 2010 at 6:54 am

    hey celebratecanada,
    this is all about smelt brook where is the pictures of the slums in your city where all the mes is and the pics of all the pollution that your big citys are causeings and ruining the rest of us .na we will never see those pics cause it might cause to much shit just pic on us small little towns ??????

  15. 21 Jenny Boardhead
    January 13, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Wow, that Ray Fella sure has a foul mouth, maybe he’s the garbage dumper in Smelt Brook. Tim, keep up the good work these people don’t know what their saying. That pile of garbage is not exceptible anyway you look at it.

    Ray’s the garbage dumper!!!!

  16. 22 Jason Dunphy
    January 13, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    All, I have looked through the pictures and now the mass of comments. One thing as a proud local i will say am very happy with the way many locals, especially Ray, stood up for thier neighbourhood. I grew up close to Smelt Brook and as this pile of garbage does look man made to me, it certainly is not a reflection of the whole community. But lets not fool ourselves, there is certainly better ways to dispose of the man made portions of such things. Surely all can agree on that. Tim most of your pictures were great and as you said a picture says a thousand words, therefore thousands of times over your pictures spoke of the beauty, hospitality and pride of Northern Cape Breton. Maybe the picture alone would have been enough to make a point, the heading i believe was what was offensive and the picture itself would have spoke to all that seen it. You were very lucky to have spent time in such areas, we that call it home are among the luckiest in the world. Keep up the good work Tim, and keep up the community spirit to all in the area, we are obviously a proud,smart, and passionate breed.

  17. 23 ray briand
    January 13, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    i would like to thank want and we did exchange phone numbers and i have called her and had a long chat.I think Tim sees he is wrong and in guilt is doing what he done .As for that little dig about the worse mess u seen on the whole trip cross canada i think u just have selctive eyes sight.i have been to a few citys a have seen twice the mess but i am not gonna get on here and bad mouth them when it might be gonna since i seen it .anyway you go on doing what your doing i am sure you will ruffel the wrong feather some day and your will understand no more !!!!!!

    • 24 celebratecanada
      January 13, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      Ray, I’ll be sure to follow up with this story next week when I’m in the area. As for the biggest mess I saw while on my trip across Canada, yes, that statement stands true. Sad but true. I had heard Cape Breton was god’s country and well I was a little disappointed about the trash pile on god’s door step on my second day of the cabot trail. I feel zero guilt about any of this, why in the world would i feel any guilt? This is what I had hoped for, debate and change and that pile of trash cleaned up so it doesn’t spread all over H.
      Maybe its time for some old school thinking to change in Smelt Brook and clean up the trash and dispose of it properly.

  18. 25 Ryan Fitzgerald
    January 13, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    This whole argument is sad. The big draw to our area is the ability to come to one of the last places in the world where you can enjoy wonderful, natural scenery and mingle with geniune, kind-hearted locals. This petty argument is being read by thousands of potential visitors to our area and is doing nothing but giving them a horrible impression (possibly first?)

    Without a doubt, that garbage did not wash up on shore like it’s shown in the photograph. Whether or not locals collected it after it washed up and piled it there is up for debate – it can’t be proven or disproven, but the odds are that quite a bit of it was just litter. It’s sad, but obviously true. People are people, regardless if you’re from Smelt Brook, New York, or the moon. Some people care about this type of thing and some people don’t. Obviously some people in Smelt Brook, like any other place in the world, don’t. It’s not an isult, it’s just reality.

    The original caption was a bit harsh. ‘In Smelt Brook the Local dump is the Atlantic Ocean’ paints a mental picture that it’s a town tradition for everyone to march down to the waters edge and throw their garbage onto the beach for the tides to deal with. In reality, we all know that it’s probably a few individuals ruining it for the majority, again, just like anywhere else in the world.

    The author pointed out that we would be better off going down to the beach and picking up the garbage rather than writing on here. I would say he’s half right, but rather than going and picking up the garbage, the negative energy created by all of this would be better spent finding whoever dumped it there, showing them the damage it’s caused to the reputation of the community, and tell them to stop (coming from a community like this, I’m sure whoever is doing it is no secret). Isn’t solving the root of the problem far more productive than bickering about how to deal with it.

    Overall, this article has shed a positive light on the area, it’s too bad that one out of however many photos there are has had to become the focal point. Northern Cape Breton is a truely wonderful place, and the more I travel the more I realize it. I grew up in Cape North and I’m very proud to say the MacIsaac’s are my aunt and uncle. There are no nicer people in the world and no more enjoyable atmosphere than sitting in their kitchen looking out at the mountains. Isn’t that what Cape Breton is really all about? Food for thought…

  19. 26 ashley macdonald
    January 14, 2010 at 2:20 am

    mr horn, i have read your article and looked at your pics and i seriously feel sorry for u. u have the gall to actually admit that u spent 13 months doing this piece and yet you decide smelt brooke and the maritimes is where your going to rant about our enviroment and our sea? are you serious? i grew up in cape breton all my life and for the last few years have lived in alberta. And i have a few things to add to your comments about our “dump”! i cannot drive more than a few seconds on any highway, road or even on walking trails in alberta without cringing at the garbage everywhere it is disgusting! Not to mention you need armour for your vechile when following behind another from quebec to ablerta because of the garbage being thrown at you, now, back to our dump! i grew up in ingonish and i dont care where u go in canada there is not a place other than the rockies, that is CLEANER!! and as for your rose coloured glasses comment……thats just not right!! where we come from were more than PROUD! rose coloured glasses has nothing to do with it.i looked at the pictures of those birds with there bellies full of garbage and,yes, its awfull!! and, yes alot of it is to do with “humans” but what u dont know is the what those birds are like! they will steal the eyes out of your head if you were not looking, (gloves,hats,FULL lunch cans,anything shiny or not nailed down) they are called scavengers of the sea for a reason! now i ask you if you have ever saw magpies being pulled out of a pipeline ? or dead rabbits in every second parking lot in edmonton? what about the road kill that seems to cover every square mile highway? now let me ask u…..did you see any of this in cape breton or smelt brook?? it is easy to see the fault !!and i do in cape breton and the rest of canada!! BUT i would never single out one place! it was not right and you should know better!

  20. 27 celebratecanada
    January 14, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Comments using foul language, aggressive,excessive/harsh or coarsely insulting language will no longer be posted. Children use this site in their class studies, so please use some grown up common sense. Please try getting your point across without using the f word and please also try using the spell check on your computer so the rest of us can understand what it is your trying to convey. Thank you

  21. 28 ashley macdonald
    January 14, 2010 at 7:59 am


    • 29 celebratecanada
      January 14, 2010 at 8:51 am

      Dear ashley macdonald,

      First of all you need to calm down…

      If you had taken just a single minute to read about the death of these birds in this post you would have learned that they are Albatross chicks and not Gulls as you have indicated. Have you ever heard of an Albatross before?

      Well I’ve taken a minute to find some info and paste it into this post so maybe you’ll walk away having learned what an Albatross is and how important they are to the animal kingdom. I don’t know if you care, but it might be good for you to know the difference.

      Even if they are common gulls that doesn’t make this cruel death exceptable?

      No wonder you appose me pointing out this dump in smelt brook, this is the very attitude we’re trying to address there, but you’ve put your town pride before everything else, blinding you to the real issue here, which is pollution in the world’s environment.

      I know you don’t think this is a problem, but it is and if you don’t have a vested interest in the environment you should.

      If this pile of trash was in my hometown I’d be posting it on my blog without question. I’m not a hater of anyone, i’m a peaceful person doing his part for his country, anything wrong with that? Someone in Smelt Brook needs to stop dumping trash over the cliff edge, would you not agree?

      That beach is no more yours then mine or anyone else’s for that matter, by you putting me and this blog post down you’re endorsing that pile of trash. Are you okay with that pile of trash sitting there for years?

      I’m not okay with it and last time I checked, Canada was a country of freedom of speech so I can say whatever, where ever. I thinking next time I’m in town that pile of trash wouldn’t be there and if it is I’ll be sure to write about it and how no one in smelt brook learned that dumping trash off the cliff doesn’t fly with the world.

      If i wanted to be aggressive and a horses as* I’d call the conservation officers in the smelt brook area and let them know about this mess, but that’s none of my business.
      Someone in the area has to take it upon themselves to look after the environment etc.

      So now I will ask you Ashely very nicely, with respect to please not make anymore noise or comments on my blog. Think you can do that for me?

      Good bye now.

      By the way your caps are locked on.

      Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm-petrels and diving-petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there too and occasional vagrants turn up.

      Albatrosses are amongst the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but there is disagreement over the number of species.

      Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of ‘ritualised dances’, and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt.

      Of the 21 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, 19 are threatened with extinction. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs, chicks and nesting adults; by pollution; by a serious decline in fish stocks in many regions largely due to overfishing; and by long-line fishing. Long-line fisheries pose the greatest threat, as feeding birds are attracted to the bait, become hooked on the lines, and drown. Identified stakeholders such as governments, conservation organisations and people in the fishing industry are all working toward reducing this bycatch.

  22. 30 P Fitzgerald
    January 15, 2010 at 4:47 am

    Love the entertainment,keep up the the good work Mr. Celebratecanada !!!

  23. 31 Michelle S
    January 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I can understand getting annoyed at the way it was described, to people who love their community which is a part of our country.. Tim clearly loves his entire country enough to take pictures of all of Canada to show the beauty of our country to share with others, he’s proud to be Canadian. Its simply making people aware of how our beautiful country might look to those who dont live there and raising awareness in hopes something could be done about it. I would love to see pictures of the same places after someone has found a solution showing nothing but how beautiful it is.

  24. 32 ray briand
    January 21, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    ok then michelle S if he truely loves the country and is looking out for it where is all the pictures with degradeing names above them and some pictures of there messes they have to clean up!!!! na i don ‘t see any of them and i am sure u never will easier for him to pick on a little community with 25 or so people then a bg city i would say hes scard of the numbers game might get more backlash from a city !!!!

    • 33 celebratecanada
      January 23, 2010 at 8:34 am

      Any word if the locals have taken a shot/photo of the cleaned up cliff in question?

      If they have please send it over and we’ll publish the good news, right away. i’d be happy to put closure to Smelt Brook’s garbage dump.

      Also please note i published a book on Alberta for its 100th birthday as a province in 2005 and printed a full page shot of my hometown dump. The photo of the Red Deer landfill took up the entire page a 11x12inch photo of garbage.

      No one said a word about the 10,000 copies of that not so pretty photo floating around. Nor did I think twice about ticking anyone off. I live in reality not Disneyland, as do most people.

      Also, please stay tuned for my reporting of Iqaluit, Nunavut’s garbage problem this week. Smelt Brook isn’t the only smelly place out here in Canada.

  25. 34 Noil
    September 15, 2010 at 2:58 am

    I have gone through you entire site to get an understanding of the scope of your project. Your skills as a photographer are good, however I think it is fair to say that you have a bias against the fishing industry, for what ever reason. Maybe you dislike fish though you did seem to enjoy your free lobster when you got it, so it can’t be that you got something against sea food. I agree the painful death of the albatross and other sea birds from the consumption of human trash is terrible however if you are looking at the human toll on the environment you need not tread far from your Red Dear home go up Highway 2 to the Oil Sands project, which has been conveniently left out of your project. Is it because they don’t fish? I hate to think of the environmental price that humanity is ultimately going to pay as a result of the wide spread damage and pollution from the Alberta Oil Sands project. Another observation, when you have traveled to Vancouver, Calgary Toronto and to Halifax you are so good at framing your shots that you can’t see the trash on the streets or the homeless people, well done! They don’t fish either, well they might but they are not doing it commercially nor are they causing the suffering of sea birds.

    To be fair you have taken photographs of some porcelain fixtures from your Red Dear landfill, such a site that it is … I did note there were no other shots of the landfill, I wonder how many gulls and other birds and animals are harmed by the Red Dear landfill or any large town or city landfill for that matter. It is interesting to note that your photographs of old cars rotting away in a farmer’s field is OK, to allow the petroleum products and other hazardous waste products associated with automobiles to sit where food is grown and leech into the soil and water table. There were no calls that I could see on the farmers to clean up their fields, because if they did you would have lost your photo opportunity of getting that nice shot of nature reclaiming the land, or as you put it: “Old Ford model T’s rust away, how many years have these old buggies been left in this field, wow so much abandoned history in the prairies.”

    When you were in Vancouver you went to what looks like the landfill where all you had to say is that you shared the parking lot with raccoons. Is there a double standard here? It is alright for raccoons to ingest human trash from a big city but it is not alright for sea birds to ingest trash from the fishing industry? You can’t have a high standard for one and not for the other … be fair in your critical analysis. And not a single photograph of container ships or cruises ships with their bilge or sewer pumps running in Vancouver. In looking at your photographs taken on mainland Nova Scotia around the Bay of Fundy you made a point to note oil slicks from spilled fuel from the fishing industry. But yet when you were in Halifax which has one of the most polluted harbours in the world from various ships dumping their sewer, trash and bilge water the biggest offenders being ships not even from Canada; you had amazingly nothing to say about that.

    Fishing gear gets lost it happens and it is unfortunate but there is little the fishing industry can do to prevent storms from dragging gear out into deeper water, moving it kilometers from where it was or washing it up on a beach. It is equally unfortunate that marine life sometimes gets caught and dies in lost gear. But you know what is equally unfortunate … when fawns are left orphaned on the side of an Alberta road because someone just hit the doe, it happens every day in Alberta, but I know … the fishing industry is not in Alberta. I hope you enjoyed your seafood just remember it came from the commercial fishing industry that you are clearly biased against.

    I think that the plastic tags that denote the license could be cleaned up and disposed of properly, as well as the paint cans and other non-burnable debris from the launch way where the boats are worked on to prepare them for the upcoming season. However piling old traps that have washed ashore or are unrepairable for the upcoming season has been something that has gone on for over a hundred years, it is not something you or anyone else is going to stop, anymore than complaining about the toxic air, water and damage done by the Oil Sands Project and big industry in Ontario that are pumping huge amounts of toxic waste into the Great Lakes.

    You will jump on the fishing industry for its pollution but no one else that also pollutes the ocean, global shipping so you can have your camera that was manufactured in Asia, your clothing, all your electronic goods, food and many other conveniences that are taken for granted come from other places and those other places are usually Asia or Eastern Europe. They do not arrive in Canada by airplane they arrive here in large container ships. There is also large industries to blame for unseen pollution, the amount of cadmium, lead and mercury in the water has risen dramatically that now all marine life has high traces of these toxins (see: http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/ChemScience/Volume/2006/03/cadmium_fish.asp). As you can see the commercial fishing industry is a small clog in a much bigger machine in the environmental waste of humans on planet earth.

    I look forward to your extensive photo shoot on environmental travesties in Alberta … if you do one. My friend in Fernie, British Columbia was commenting just two days ago about how much trash is on the hiking trails there, perhaps you can go photograph it and have a clean up coordinated.

  26. 35 Caper
    February 15, 2011 at 6:58 am

    I would love to know how the trash (such as refrigerators and tires) got so high up on the cliffs near the look off just past White Point. That would be one hell of a storm! I’ve lived in Cape Breton all my life, but I had never been so appalled at the amount of garbage there at that one spot alone. How can we attact tourists, our now main source of income, if they find this mess?

    In the defense of the wonderful people who live there, there hasn’t always been the best infrastructure in Northern Cape Breton. Getting large items to a dump requires a lot of effort. If you drive through the lesser traveled roads, you will find a lot of abandoned vehicles…mostly because people can’t afford to have them moved. Times are changing, I believe most people now do better because they know better. A lot of the trash I saw seemed to be older in this area.

    But yes, to answer your question, as of the summer of 2010, the trash is still there. And I hope the passion of the people in the area doesn’t turn you against Cape Breton in general, there is a lot more beauty than beast 😉

    • 36 Tim Van Horn
      February 17, 2011 at 12:21 am

      Hi Caper, Yes, this debate stuck a cord with the folks of Smelt Brook, but obviously not enough to get them out of their houses to get down to the beach and do something about the trash situation. My intent was to point it out, it’s all of our problem, and we all need to work together to clean up at the beaches and coastlines around Canada. Thx!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog Stats

  • 825,469 hits


Scroll Over Any Date and Travel Across Canada

May 2009
« Apr   Jun »

%d bloggers like this: