You won’t be seeing a conservation officer set up shop in Revelstoke anytime soon.
Columbia River – Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok said he broached the topic with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman in Victoria on Wednesday.
According to Clovechok, there are 20 new conservation officers that have been hired and are currently being trained by the Conservation Officer Service. (COS)
He said that none of them will be deployed to an office in Revelstoke.
Revelstoke has been without a conservation officer since 2013.
The conservation officer based in Revelstoke was responsible for the area from Shelter Bay to Mica Dam.
Currently conservation officers from Golden or the Shuswap are called in in the event of a human wildlife encounter.
“Revelstoke is in a bind,” said Clovechok.
According to Revelstoke Bear Aware, (RBA) there were 154 bear encounters reported to RBA and the COS last year.
RBA says four of those bears were killed.
Those incidents were related to bears which had broken into homes and destroyed property.
Clovechok said that had there been a conservation officer here, that may not have happened.
“Quite frankly, if there’d been a conservation officer that may not have happened,” said Clovechok.
Though he said the environment minister has no plans to bring a conservation officer to Revelstoke, Clovechok said he did get Heyman to agree to meet with local residents to discuss the need for a conservation officer based here.
“I will be arranging a meeting with myself and representatives of Revelstoke,” said Clovechok.
Clovechok also praised the work of the City to mitigate human bear encounters.
In 2016 24 bears were killed in Revelstoke, including four in one day. Clovechok said that was not an “anomaly.”
“Two years ago, incidents seemed to spike. I told (Heyman) that was not an anomaly,” said Clovechok.
According to RBA, 66 per cent of the 154 calls they received in 2017 were related to garbage that was put out for collection.
In conversation with RBA, last year the City installed new bear resistant garbage bins downtown, and passed a wildlife and attractant bylaw. Currently RBA is working with the City to bring new bear resistant residential garbage cans to local residents.
Speaking to the Review in March RBA community outreach coordinator Maggie Spizziri said that before RBA formed in 1996 on average between 25 and 50 bears were killed a year.
The current average is about six, according to Spizziri.
Clovechok campaigned on bringing a conservation officer back to Revelstoke.
He said he has not determined which organizations he will invite to meet with the minister in Victoria, but is looking into contacting the Revelstoke Rod and Gun Club and RBA.
“Revelstoke requires a full time conservation officer,” said Clovechok.
The ministry denied a City of Revelstoke request to reinstate a conservation officer in the area in 2015.