The City of Revelstoke says it is directing bylaw enforcement to step up patrols in order to ensure the garbage bylaw is followed.
“Bylaw enforcement in the City of Revelstoke is usually initiated by citizen complaints, however in light of the recent bear euthanizations, the city has increased patrols and is proactively enforcing regulations in areas where bears have been reported,” the city stated in a news release.
The news comes following a week in which Conservation Officers killed nine bears in the span of three days; eight of the bears were conditioned to eating garbage and a considered a threat to public safety.
In its news release, the city says there will be zero tolerance for people found violating the garbage bylaw. The bylaw states garbage cans must be maintained in a clean manner, that they must be kept in a place that is not accessible by wildlife, and they must not be put out for pickup before 6 a.m.
Violators will be fined $100 per violation.
At council on Tuesday, the Review asked how the city would enforce the third rule considering bylaw enforcement officers only work during the day. Theresa LeRose, the city’s manager of legislative services, said the city would be looking at changing bylaw enforcement hours once their supervisor gets back from vacation.
When asked about requiring bear-proof garbage bins, Mayor McKee said there were issues with cost and effectiveness. “I think if people comply with the garbage bylaw and looked after it, I don’t think we need garbage proof bins,” he said.
Residents are being asked to secure and lock up and food sources, including food scraps, beverage containers, pet food, bird feed, diapers, grease barrels, petroleum products and bear products.
“Reducing wildlife attractants will keep residents safe and wildlife wild, education and outreach has always been a priority and the city actively promotes and supports the Bear Aware program to educate the public,” states the news release. “The city is working collaboratively with the Chamber of Commerce to help businesses with information on how to properly store garbage and protect wildlife.”
Bears that are conditioned to eating garbage can become aggressive and are considered a threat to public safety and are killed as a result. Relocation is considered ineffective because bears simply come back, while rehabilitation also isn’t considered possible.
“Recent events have saddened and shocked our community, and triggered a renewed awareness around human wildlife conflict,” stated McKee in the news release. “Bears have always been a part of Revelstoke’s culture, we have a Bear Aware coordinator, good bylaws for disposal of garbage and consistent messaging. Residents and visitors need to be extra responsible with securing their garbage and harvesting their fruit, and these are the two largest contributors to human wildlife conflict.”