The mayor of Hawkesbury wants to get tough on trash.

At the May 27 council meeting, Mayor Paula Assaly introduced a notice of motion requesting that an increase be considered on the littering fine in the town.

Currently, the fine for littering in Hawkesbury is $253.75 and that amount includes the administrative court fees, according to Clerk Christine Groulx.  The fine amount has not changed since the by-law was first approved by council in 1989.

Assaly said some municipalities are increasing their littering fine to $1,000.

The mayor and Councillor Antonios Tsourounakis are involved with the local eHawkesbury eClean volunteer group which meets to clean up litter from various sites around town.

Tsourounakis said that the eClean group was picking up litter behind the FreshCo store on Spence Avenue on May 26 and just as they were finishing, someone arrived and tried to dump more trash on the property.  According to Tsourounakis, a brief argument followed between the person and a volunteer; the individual collected the trash and left.

The mayor’s motion to have staff examine the possibility of increasing the fine was approved at the May 10 council meeting.

Councillor Yves Paquette asked how littering fines are prosecuted.

Groulx explained that the infractions are issued the same way a parking ticket is, and that the accused has the option of paying the fine or requesting it proceed to court in L’Orignal.

She said the set fine is usually the same amount, regardless of if the infraction is the first offence or a subsequent one.  Any other changes to the fine are up to the judge.

Assaly said she wants a practical solution that helps promote pride in properties and in the town as a whole.

The mayor acknowledged it is difficult to catch people littering but wants opinions from police and by-law enforcement officers on that aspect of the issue.

Assaly said she wants all municipal departments to provide their input on littering in Hawkesbury, how to stop it, and if the fine should be increased.

Council approved the mayor’s motion to have staff investigate the matter.