Council funds bear-proof garbage bins with tourism infrastructure money

City of Revelstoke spending $37,600 on bear-proof garbage bins for downtown area.

The City of Revelstoke will be replacing its heritage garbage bins with bear-proof cans.

The City of Revelstoke will be replacing its heritage garbage bins with bear-proof cans.

The City of Revelstoke will be using tourism infrastructure funds to purchase bear-proof garbage bins for the downtown area.

Council agreed to spend $25,000 out of the provincial Resort Municipality Infrastructure Fund to replace the heritage bins downtown.

The move comes after a year in which 24 bears were destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service in the Revelstoke area.

The COS partially blamed the deaths on the easy availability of garbage to bears in Revelstoke. The city’s heritage downtown garbage bins came under fire and the city said they would look to have them replaced.

“Although managing bear populations is a matter that is dealt with by the provincial Conservation Officers, the fact that one of the bear deaths in Revelstoke was witnessed by tourists, and the fact that the stories about the bears being put down were reported in various media outlets, resulted in negative publicity for Revelstoke as a tourism destination,” wrote Alan Mason, the city’s director of economic development, in a report to council. “This is a matter of concern for all those who work to promote Revelstoke as a tourism destination.”

The report says the total cost to purchase and install the bins will be $37,600, with the remaining money coming out of the public works department budget.

The report recommends installing the bins as soon as possible.

Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering, told council the city was planning to purchase basic bins because they’re easier to maintain.

“All of the downtown heritage bins are going to be replaced,” he said. “Some of the bins would have a small hole to put in small disposable items. Other bins will be designed for larger items as well.”

Allan Chabot, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer, said the city could consider decorating the bins as part of a public art project, pointing to a similar project in Fernie, B.C, where he used to work.

“It really jazzed up bleak spaces in the community,” he said.