Frequently Asked Questions
Provided below are answers to the most frequently asked questions. We understand that there will be some unique circumstances not covered in the questions below.
City staff are here to help you find solutions to protect you, your neighbourhood and bears. If the information you need is not included below, please contact the appropriate department or agency listed below for further assistance.
Q: Why is the City of Port Coquitlam's Solid Waste Bylaw so strict?
A: The City places a high priority on public and bear safety and these measures are necessary to ensure both.
Bears lose their fear of humans if they know a readily available food source such as garbage is near. This is not normal bear behaviour – it is occurring now because the bears associate humans with food.
In order to prevent future occurrences and reduce human and bear interactions we need to ensure that bears do not become habituated to humans and human food.
Residents should note that the Solid Waste Bylaw regulations apply to all Port Coquitlam properties – commercial, industrial and residential.
Q: Do I have to buy a Critter Guard™ system for my bins?
A: You have options! If you have a garage or secure locked shed, you may keep your waste collection carts inside until the morning of pick up and set them out between 5:30 am and 7:30 am. A Critter Guard™ is not necessary if you are keeping your carts inside.
If you do not have a garage or shed, and you receive City collection services, you will need a City-approved wildlife-resistant locking device, such as Critter Guard™, installed on your carts.
Q: I live in a multi-family complex and don’t receive collection services from the City, what should I do to make my waste container bear resistant?
A: If you receive private collection services and do not have either a garage or a secured waste storage area, have your strata council or private collection company contact ( www.bearaware.bc.ca ) to determine the best solution for your multi-family complex.
The Bear Aware™ website ( www.bearaware.bc.ca ) also has additional information regarding bear resistant containers that have received Bear Aware™ endorsement.
Q; Why do I have to get a Critter Guard™ or other Bear Aware™ endorsed system? Can’t I use Bungee cords and chains?
A: For properties that receive City collection, the bylaw requirement is for a Bear Aware™ endorsed locking sytems such as the Critter Guard™ Locking System. It has passed very strict testing and certification.
Q: If I have a Critter Guard™, can I leave my cart on the street at night?
A: ALL carts must be kept off the street at night. A Critter Guard™ allows a City cart to be kept outside of your home on your property.
Carts on the street at night are a bear attractant to unhabituated bears coming into town. Until they become habituated to garbage as a food source, bears are unlikely to approach a residence. In order to ensure that the bears do not have easy access to garbage, we need to keep carts off the streets.
I know that residents in other municipalities were given bear resistant containers for ‘free’. Why not us?
It’s important to consider a few factors:
- City-supplied services or products are not ‘free’ – they are funded by the property taxes collected by the municipality. Ultimately, the property owner pays through their property taxes.
- By providing property owners and residents with other storage options, such as securing bins in a garage, Port Coquitlam has made it possible for many residents to comply with the bylaw at no additional cost.
- At $75 per cart for the Critter Guard™ system, Port Coquitlam’s bear resistant system is the most cost-effective solution currently being offered in the Tri-Cities.
A: When the automated system was put in place in 2002, bear activity was not reported at a level of concern.
Given the spike in bear activity in our neighbourhoods, the City needs to take the measures necessary to protect residents from dangerous bear conflicts.
Q: The real problem with bears is the development on Burke Mountain taking away their habitat. It has nothing to do with garbage.
A: The development on Burke Mountain is a small fraction of the neighbouring bear habitat. Unsecured wildlife attractants are the number one reason that bears come into urban areas..
Q:Where can I get a Critter Guard™?
A: Critter Guard™ is available directly from the Canadian manufacturer by calling the local installer at 778-789-1854. The supplier will make arrangements to install the Critter Guard™ system on site.
Q: How much is the Critter Guard™?
A: Critter Guard™ has reduced the price for Port Coquitlam residents from $90 per cart to $75 per cart which includes installation.
Q: What if I move? Can I remove the Critter Guard™ Locking System and take it with me?
A: If you are moving within Port Coquitlam you can take the carts with the Critter Guard™ Locking System with you. Please call Engineering and Operations at 604-927-5488 and arrangements will be made to have your cart's serial numbers transferred to the new address and the carts left by the previous resident will be picked up.
If you are moving outside of Port Coquitlam you will need to leave your carts with the new owners. Most sellers will decide to cover the cost of the Critter Guard™ system within the selling price of their home.
My work schedule or personal circumstances make it difficult for me put my cart out between 5:30 am and 7:30 am. Will I be ticketed for having my cart out the night before pick up?
The City has solid waste collection regulations in place to ensure the safety of our citizens as well as protect the bears that live in our community. It is important that everyone adhere to the regulations to keep our community safe.
We encourage you to carefully consider other options:
- Is there anyone else within your home who could put the carts curbside on the morning of collection?
- Is there a neighbour who could assist you?
- Bear Sightings - Conservation Officer Service - 1.877.952.7277 (RAPP)
- Bear Sightings on Trails/Parks - Parks & Services - 604.927.5480
- City Waste Collection Services - 604.927.5488 or 604.927.5496
- Critter Guard™ Installation - 778.789.1854
- Solid Waste Infractions / Fines - Bylaw Enforcement - 604.927.5440