Be Bear Aware and Safe – Secure Waste and Attractants
With reports of increased bear sightings, Port Coquitlam residents and businesses are reminded to secure their waste and remove other attractants.
Bylaw Services staff are working with the provincial Conservation Office to track bear activity and conducting proactive joint enforcement. The City’s Ambassador has also been out in the community performing waste cart audits to ensure residents and businesses are securing their waste and removing other wildlife attractants.
The City will also be rolling out a series of bear awareness educational videos starting this week on social media channels.
Residents and businesses can do their part and avoid a $500 fine by following the city’s garbage regulations:
- SECURE garbage and food scraps in either a wildlife-resistant enclosure (e.g. garage or shed) or by using the city’s wildlife-resistant cart lock or a lock certified by the BC Conservation Foundation.
- SET OUT carts between 5:30-7:30 a.m. on collection day and re-secure your carts by 7 pm.
As of September 28, 2020 the City has issued 68 fines under the City’s Solid Waste bylaw for a variety of infractions including unlocked carts, contaminants in waste carts, unsecured wildlife attractants and for setting out carts when not allowed. During the recent proactive enforcement on the north side, Bylaw Services staff found most properties were following city regulations but will be following up with 40 properties that were not compliant.
Properties without secure storage space for carts are required to use a city cart lock, or certified alternative, at all times except for the day of collection. Instructions for proper lock use are available at www.portcoquitlam.ca/lock.
Residents who would like to request the additional third arm for added security or to be placed on a waitlist for a lock can contact Public Works at email@example.com or by phone at 604-927-5496.
Earlier this year Council approved the City’s efforts to further manage wildlife by making free cart locks available to residents who have not yet received them, undertaking a bear hazard assessment and increasing fines for not securing waste properly. The City also began year-round weekly organics pickup earlier than planned to reduce odours that can attract bears.
The success of the strategy will continue to rely heavily on residents and businesses following the bear regulations that have been in place since 2009.
The best protection against bears is to physically keep waste and other attractants out of reach:
- Keep carts in the garage if possible.
- Freeze meat and strong-smelling food scraps, and wait until collection day to put them into the green cart.
- Feed pets indoors, clean barbecues after use and keep freezers indoors or locked up.
- Don’t store strong-smelling garbage (diapers, grease barrels) or scented products (pop cans, toothpaste tubes, hairspray, mouthwash, etc.) outside.
- Harvest fruit, berries and vegetables before or as they ripen, and clean up fallen fruit.
- Remove bird feeders from April to November, or suspend them higher than 3.3 metres.
- Block access to small animals (chickens, rabbits) and berry bushes.
The increased bear activity in neighbourhoods across the city is directly related to the availability of food. After bears find a meal once in a waste cart or from a backyard fruit tree, they quickly learn to return to the area and teach their cubs to do the same. These “garbage bears” lose their natural fear of humans and often become aggressive over time.
Residents can report unsecured wildlife attractants in their neighbourhood at www.portcoquitlam.ca/report, using the Report it App or by calling 604-927-3111. The public is also advised to call the Provincial Conservation Officer Service 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP or at www.rapp.bc.ca if they witness an aggressive or threatening bear or if there is a conflict that threatens public safety.
For more information about being bear aware or the City’s garbage regulations, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/bears or call 604.927.5496.
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533