Be Bear Aware And Safe – Secure Waste And Attractants
It is that time of year again, as we get closer to spring arriving, an increase in bear sightings will begin. Port Coquitlam residents and businesses are reminded to secure their waste and remove other attractants.
Bears emerge from hibernation typically between March-April and will soon begin searching for food. Bylaw Services staff will be working again with the Provincial Conservation Office to track bear activity and conduct proactive joint enforcement. The City’s Ambassador will also be out in the community performing waste cart audits to ensure residents and businesses are securing their waste and removing other wildlife attractants.
City staff will be offering once again an information session to help residents manage their attractants on Wed. Mar. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC) – JB Young Room. Participants will learn how to keep bears and their homes safe. Residents will learn practical and effective tips for managing bear attractants and responding to bear encounters safely. Attendees can share questions to be answered by City staff and Bylaws during Q&A period. Register online at portcoquitlam.ca/bears.
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
- SET OUT carts between 5:30-7:30 a.m. on collection day and re-secure your carts by 7 pm.
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 portcoquitlam.ca/lockitright.
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.
The best protection against bears is to physically keep waste and other attractants out of reach:
- Keep carts in the garage or in an area not accessible to wildlife.
- Freeze meat and strong-smelling food scraps, and wait until collection day to put them into the green cart.
- Keep pet food inside.
- 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 high.
- Block access to small animals (chickens, rabbits) and berry bushes.
Bears are food driven and are feeding on natural and unnatural food sources including bird feeders, suet, chickens, rabbits and garbage.
The increased bear activity in neighbourhoods 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.
Be Cautious on the Trails:
- Travel with someone else or a group.
- Be alert where bears may not be able to see, hear, or smell you.
- Make noise (talk loudly, clap or sing) to let the bear know you are there.
- Keep children close and dogs on a leash at all times.
- Watch for fresh bear signs (droppings, tracks, scratches on trees, overturned boulders, or smashed logs).
- Never approach a bear – maintain a distance of at least 100 metres.
Residents can report unsecured wildlife attractants in their neighbourhood at portcoquitlam.ca/report, using the Sort & Report 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 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 regulations and resources, visit portcoquitlam.ca/bears or call 604.927.5496.
Manager of Communications & Administrative Services
City of Port Coquitlam