Be bear smart with your garbage

It's that time of year: bears are awake and hungry. Please heed the new Garbage Bylaw and keep the bears at bay. Kirk Friederich photo courtesy of Revelstoke Bear Aware
It’s that time of year: bears are awake and hungry. Please heed the new Garbage Bylaw and keep the bears at bay. Kirk Friederich photo courtesy of Revelstoke Bear Aware

By Sue Davies
Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator

For several years now Revelstoke has had a garbage bylaw restricting the times that garbage can be left at the curb. However, we now have a new bylaw, which also obliges residents to store garbage containers in a place that is not accessible to wildlife when the container is not at the curb.

The new bylaw (Solid Waste and Recycling Bylaw #2006) states that residents “shall store such (garbage) Containers in a location not accessible by wildlife.”  Wildlife is defined as “bear, cougar, wolf, coyote, crow or raven.” The bylaw also gives a time limit to when garbage is allowed at the curb (6:00am to midnight on the day of collection), and states that residents must “maintain (garbage) Containers in an odour free, clean and dry condition”.

Most of us are very good at putting garbage at the curb only during the day of collection as the old bylaw states.  This is excellent and can really make a difference to wildlife not getting into the garbage overnight.

However, many residents then store their garbage containers for the rest of the week in an open carport or beside their house.  People often think that storing the garbage close to the house will keep it safe because bears and other wildlife don’t like to come too close.  Not true!  Storing your garbage by your house is asking for trouble.

Coyotes and bears will both investigate garbage even in close proximity to humans. If coyotes are regular visitors to a neighbourhood, the chances of them preying on pets are increased.  Bears live to eat and high calories are king for them.  Garbage is often loaded with calories and therefore makes a prize for any bear.  Bears are intelligent and will take the risk of coming to your house for the reward of a high calorie food like that found in garbage cans.

Once bears or coyotes become used to dining from garbage cans the result is often destruction for the animal.  Wild animals with the potential to cause injury to humans may become dangerous if they are conditioned to eating human food.  These animals are often considered too dangerous to leave at large in towns.   Relocating wildlife is rare these days because relocation has been tried and tried and is very seldom effective.  The only way to stop this situation is to avoid it in the first place.

Making garbage and other wildlife attractants inaccessible is the best course.  Please see that your garbage is locked in a garage or locked shed; your birdfeeders are only used in the winter or with small, daily quantities of feed; your fruit is picked as it ripens; your BBQ is clean and stored in a garage; pet food is stored inside; and any livestock are protected by an electric fence.

For a copy of the new bylaw please see CivicWeb: Bylaws – Alphabetically -Consolidated and for more information about managing wildlife attractants, contact WildSafeBC at on 250 837 8624 or see our websites at or To report bear sightings or conflict with bears please call the RAPP Line at 1-877-952-7277.