Failure to lock up your garbage could result in a fine from the Conservation Officer Service, says Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies.
Under section 33.1 (1) of the Wildlife Act, a person who leaves a substance that could attract dangerous wildlife can face a fine of up to &100,000 and up to one year in prison. If the matter is dealt with by a violation ticket, the first offense is $345.
“There have been several reports of bears so far this season,” she said in a statement released Monday night, April 20. “They’ve been reported in Johnson Heights, downtown and in the Big Eddy, and, in most cases they are already getting into garbage.”
Garbage is the number one attractant for bears and leads to the animals becoming far more likely to act aggressively towards humans.
“Last year bears that had become used to eating garbage became very aggressive on several occasions,” said Davies. “In one instance a bear that had been feeding on garbage tried to break open some glass doors while the family were in the house. On many other occasions last year bears entered houses, broke property, and were aggressive towards either humans or pets. We don’t want a repeat of last year.”
The only way to reduce the conflict that garbage can cause is to keep it away from bears.
“Bears that feed on one person’s garbage are not just a problem for that one person either,” Davies said. “A garbage bear is a big problem for the whole neighbourhood, and when it comes to dealing with them, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. That’s the reason why the Conservation Officers are able to issue fines to people who consistently leave their garbage unsecured. After last year, when 10 bears were destroyed, the Conservation Officers will be getting tough on people who leave their garbage accessible to bears, she said.
“We’ll be conducting a spring garbage tagging campaign over the next few weeks,” Davies said. “Garbage left at the curb the night before collection will be tagged with a bright yellow sticker. Please heed the stickers and only put your garbage out after 6 am on collection day, and — please — store it securely the rest of the week too.”
The City’s Solid Waste and Recycling Bylaw (#2006) states that garbage cans must be secured from wildlife during the week, and that they should only be put at the curb between 6am and midnight on collection day.
For the sake of the whole neighbourhood, and to avoid getting a fine, lock up your garbage in a shed, garage, or indoors until collection day.
For more information about reducing conflict with bears please see www.revelstokebearaware.org. To receive and share valuable local information about bear activity in Revelstoke, like Bear Aware on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/revelstokebearaware. To report bear sightings or conflicts with bears please call the 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952 RAPP (7277).