Port Coquitlam Ramps Up Bear Safety Measures

PORT COQUITLAM, BC – July 8, 2020… With reports of increased bear sightings, Port Coquitlam is ramping up its education and enforcement efforts.

Starting next week, the city’s Ambassador will be out in the community performing waste cart audits to ensure residents and businesses are locking up their waste and removing other wildlife attractants. Port Coquitlam’s Ambassador program educates the community about bear safety, water-use regulations and waste-sorting.

“Bear sightings are continuing to increase, putting our residents and wildlife at risk,” Mayor Brad West said. “Our proactive approach has the city working hand-in-hand with the community to keep our neighbourhoods safe. We are reminding our residents and businesses to do their part.” 

Earlier this year, Council approved making free locks for all three sizes of carts available to residents who have not yet received them, undertaking a bear hazard assessment, and increasing fines for not securing waste properly.

Since Jan. 1, the city’s Bylaw Services has responded to 235 calls regarding bears and issued 40 fines, including one for $500. Since March, close to 3500 additional locks have been provided to residents.

Residents who would like a 120L cart lock can contact Public Works at 604-927-5496 or email publicworks@portcoquitlam.ca to be added to the waiting list. Those who need 240L or 360L cart locks are asked to contact Public Works in September. The first lock is free, and replacements are $45. Residents can also contact Public Works at any time for a free third arm for their existing locks for added security.

Funded through reserve and surplus accounts, other measures include:

  • Increasing enforcement as part of the city’s review of bylaw services this year. The city’s approach to enforcement includes education, warnings and penalties when necessary for repeat offences.
  • Conducting a bear hazard assessment, one of the criteria for Bear Smart certification;
  • Issuing fines up to $500 for those who don’t secure their garbage and green waste properly. The new fines are in line with those issued in Coquitlam and Port Moody.
  • Providing year-round weekly organics pickup in the fall to reduce odours that can attract bears, instead of the previous biweekly collection from late fall to early spring.
  • Ongoing bear education campaign and outreach.

Residents and businesses can do their part and avoid a $500 fine by following the city’s garbage regulations:

  • LOCK IT UP – 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 IT OUT – cart set-out times are between 5:30-7:30 a.m. on collection day and re-secure your carts by 7 pm.

“For the safety of everyone in our community and for the safety of bears and other wildlife, we need the cooperation of each and every household and business,” said Cllr. Steve Darling, Council’s designate on community safety matters. “The regulations have been in effect for more than a decade and it’s time to get serious.”   

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/lockitright.

The planned bear hazard assessment will assess the root causes of human/bear conflicts to reduce risks to safety and property and reduce bear destruction. This includes identifying locations in the community which are at greater risk of human/bear interaction and providing recommendations to address these concerns.

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.

For more information about being bear aware, the City’s garbage regulations, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/bears. For information about cart locks, call 604-927-5496 or email publicworks@portcoquitlam.ca

– 30 –


Pardeep Purewal
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533
Email purewalp@portcoquitlam.ca