Bears have been more active than normal in Castlegar this spring. Photo: Jennifer Small

Bears have been more active than normal in Castlegar this spring. Photo: Jennifer Small

City of Castlegar asking residents to secure bear attractants

Tagging of garbage bins in violation of bylaws begins next week

Submitted by City of Castlegar

With more bears active than normal in Castlegar, the city and WildSafeBC are reminding residents to manage attractants to avoid the preventable destruction of bears.

To help, garbage bin tagging will begin next week. Big tagging is an educational activity performed by the WildSafeBC community coordinator on behalf of the City of Castlegar. It consists of placing a highly visible and removable sticker on residential containers that are set curbside outside of the allowable times to educate residents on the importance of properly managing their bear attractants.

“Bears grow comfortable in our neighbourhoods when they have access to unsecured garbage; it creates a dangerous situation for people, private property, and bears which can be destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service when their behaviour is a risk to the public,” says Tara Pejski, WildSafeBC’s Castlegar Coordinator.

“Managing garbage between pick-ups is residents’ responsibility and we are asking everyone to be extra vigilant and do their part.”

Garbage carts should be only placed on the curb with clips unlocked between 4 and 7 a.m. on collection day. Fines of up to $200 may be issued for carts placed outside this window.

READ MORE: Castlegar man sentenced to 3.5 years for drug trafficking

How can people help?

Your Garbage Cart

• Lock and store carts in a secure building between collections.

• Carts left outside must have both clips locked and be chained to a strong, free-standing post or tree between collections. It is much more difficult for bears to open or damage a cart that is secured upright.

• Garbage is the number one attractant for bears. If your garbage cart or clips are damaged, call the city to get it repaired or replaced.

Reduce Odors

• Freeze especially smelly food items and add them to your cart on collection day (ie: meat, bones, rotten fruit, etc).

• Take additional garbage to the landfill rather than overflowing your cart.

• Clean your cart regularly and consider adding ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup of borax.

• Secure and manage your backyard compost carefully by adding small amounts at a time and disposing of cooked food, meat, or dairy products in your garbage.

Prevent Other Attractants

• Pick fruit quickly after ripening and remove unwanted fruit trees.

• Keep barbecues clean and pet food containers indoors.

• Remove bird feeders until November or bring them inside at night.

• Protect livestock, fruit trees, bees, and chickens using an electric fence.

Bear Smart Community

In 2021, after several years of hard work and dedication, Castlegar officially became a Bear Smart community. The Bear Smart Community Program is a voluntary, preventative conservation measure that encourages communities, businesses, and individuals to work together to reduce conflicts with bears.

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