WildSafe BC coordinator for Castlegar Jenny Wallace presented a year end report of the organization’s activities to city council Monday night. Wallace is pleased with the progress the city has made in the last year towards qualifying for Bear Smart community status.
Wallace reported that there were more bear reports this year than the previous two years combined, resulting in 70 bears being destroyed out of the Castlegar Conservation office. Not all of these bears were in Castlegar, as the office takes care of a wider area, however Wallace said that the majority were from in and around Castlegar. “That just reiterates how significant the human bear conflict issue is in our region and how important it is for municipalities to take big steps to address community attractants,” said Wallace.
From a bear conflict aspect, Wallace sees Castlegar’s upcoming switch to bear resistant garbage carts as a huge step forward. She predicts that current food conditioned bears will still make an appearance in town next year looking for the food they have grown accustomed to. Once they learn that there is not a food reward, they will eventually move on. The largest improvement in conflicts will be seen when the young and non-food conditioned bears come to town and finding no food reward, will never get into the habit of coming to town for food.
Support for art gallery
Council voted to assist the Kootenay Gallery of Art financially with a feasibility study to explore the relocation of the gallery. The $8000 will come from the 2015 consulting fee budget line item. The gallery will also request funding for the study from RDCK Areas I and J as well as the Columbia Basin Trust.
“I am in support of this, I think it is a huge step forward that they are taking and the sooner they get this done, the sooner they can make plans. It is a huge asset to the community and I wish them luck,” said Councillor Deb McIntosh.
Kootenay Gallery executive director Val Field was pleased with the decision. “We certainly appreciate their support,” said Field. “It is a very important part of our whole process is to do this feasibility study and get our questions answered so we can move forward with the whole project.”
Committees for 2016
The new committee lineup for 2016 was announced. Committees are as follows:
Public Safety — Bruno Tassone, Kevin Chernoff
Cultural and Civic Pride — Kevin Chernoff, Dan Rye
Community Wellness and Social Services — Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, Bruno Tassone
Finance and Corporate Services — Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, Dan Rye
Sustainability and Technological Initiatives — Lawrence Chernoff, Kevin Chernoff, Dan Rye
Transportation and Civic Works — Deb McIntosh, Florio Vassilikakis
Planning and Development — Florio Vassilikakis, Deb McIntosh
Recreation Commission — Dan Rye, Kevin Chernoff
Stage four labour management — Lawrence Chernoff, Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, Florio Vassilikakis
Emergency — Lawrence Chernoff, Deb McIntosh, Bruno Tassone