Q: Why is the Solid Waste Bylaw so strict?A: The City places a high priority on public and bear safety and these measures, introduced in 2009, 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. Bears habituated to eating garbage can also become aggressive.
In order to protect our neighbourhoods and prevent bears from being killed, 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 pickup 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: Do our green and garbage carts have to be secured even if we do not put out our green waste until the morning of pickup? We keep all food garbage in the house until that time.A: Yes. The Solid Waste Bylaw requires garbage and green carts to be secured at all times other than the permitted hours on the day of pickup.
Q: We have never had any problems with wildlife getting into our carts, because there is nothing in them to attract wildlife. Buying a locking device is a totally unnecessary expense.
A: Garbage and green carts retain odours from their previous contents and will attract wildlife even when they appear to be empty. Bears have sensitive noses and can detect a garbage or green cart from as far as nine miles away. Bears have also been known to eat grass clippings, especially when they are hungry, so your green cart may attract bears even if you don’t put food in it.
Q: Why are all areas of the city being targeted?
A: Bears are now being sighted throughout the city. The City began enforcing the regulations on both the north and south sides of the community in 2011 in response to the increase in bear activity.
Q: Why are we not allowed to store our carts in the front yard? That’s where we’ve always kept them.
A: The Solid Waste Bylaw requires carts to be stored in a building, or in the side or rear yard. When bears are first scouting an area, they tend to go down the middle of the street and if the carts are visible, they will come to investigate them.
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 Bear Aware to determine the best solution for your multi-family complex. The Bear Aware™ website 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? Why can't I install my own system?A: For properties that receive City collection, the bylaw requirement is for a Bear Aware™ endorsed locking system, such as the Critter Guard™ Locking System, which 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: A Critter Guard™ allows a City cart to be kept outside of your home on your property, but ALL carts must be kept off the street at night. Even if they are locked, carts on the street at night are a bear attractant. To ensure bears do not have easy access to garbage, we need to keep carts off the streets.
Q: 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.
Q: Why didn’t Port Coquitlam get bear-resistant carts when the automated collection system began?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.A: Port Coquitlam is and has been bear habitat for centuries. The development on Burke Mountain is a small fraction of the neighbouring bear habitat. Bears are not being driven into Port Coquitlam by subdivision construction there. Bears are being drawn into Port Coquitlam by accessible garbage, food waste and other wildlife attractants.
Q: Where can I get a Critter Guard™?A: Critter Guard™ is available directly from the Canadian manufacturer by contacting the local installer at 778-789-1854 or email@example.com. 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, including installation.
Q: By citing contact information for Critter Guard, you are acting as an agent for a private company. Does the City of Port Coquitlam receive a share of Critter Guard’s sales revenue?
A: The City has negotiated the lowest possible selling price from Critter Guard for our residents. The City does not receive a share of Critter Guard’s sales revenue.
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.
If you are moving outside of Port Coquitlam you must leave your carts with the new owners. The Critter Guard locks are specific to Port Coquitlam's carts and may not fit the standard carts of another city. You may wish to consider the cost of the lock when calculating the selling price of your home.
Q: 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 pickup?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)
- City Waste Collection Services - 604.927.5488 or 604.927.5496
- Critter Guard™ Installation - 778.789.1854 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Solid Waste Infractions / Fines - Bylaw Enforcement - 604.927.5440 or email@example.com