By David F. Rooney
Revelstoke Bear Aware’s new coordinator, Maggie Spizzirri, introduced herself to City Council on Tuesday, June 14, as she presented it with her agency’s 2015 Annual Report.
The 31-year-old from Sarnia, Ontario, has been here for four years and — when she’s not keeping tabs on bears — operates her own marketing company, Moxie Marketing. She was hired this spring to replace Sue Davies who left Bear Aware for the BC Invasive Species Council after five years as its coordinator. Davies, a well-known local painter continues to reside in Revelstoke.
Spizzirri is enthusiastic about this new chapter in her life and would like to see Revelstoke actually become a Bear Smart Community.
That would be very appropriate, as she pointed out to Council, since Revelstoke was the first Bear Aware community in British Columbia. In the years since communities other than Revelstoke have become Bear Smart, and it is high time that our community achieved that goal. The only obstacles standing in the way of that recognition is passage of a new bear-resistant garbage collection system and a wildlife attractant bylaw covering garbage, unmanaged fruit, birdfeeders, outdoor fridges and freezers, barbeques, pet food, chickens and chicken feed, compost, and beehives.
2015 was actually a fairly quiet year in terms of bear sightings.
“There were 102 reports concerning black bears and 2 reports concerning grizzly bears bringing the total number of bear reports in Revelstoke and the surrounding Area B of the CSRD to 104 in 2015,” the annual report said. “The Conservation Officer Service destroyed 1 black bear in 2015, and residents destroyed two further bears. Two bears were destroyed as a result of becoming conditioned to eating garbage; the other bear was destroyed as a result of repeatedly breaking into a chicken coop. There were several incidents where bears destroyed property and 3 confirmed cases of bears showing aggression towards humans. The first sighting of a bear in 2015 was on the 24th of March and the last sighting was on the 14th of December.”
Spizzirri said Bear Aware would like to see a Conservation Officer posted here. The closest COs are in Golden and Vernon, which means they cannot get here in under an hour. However, Environment Minister Mary Polak seems unwilling to satisfy complaints about this by Bear Aware, City Council and the general community.
You can activate the YouTube player below to watch her presentation to Council, which begins at the 4:12-mark on the video: