Council discusses wildlife and Husky park

Local conservation officers have expressed concerns about the number of bears in and around the Golden Mobile Home Park.

Local conservation officers and the owner of the Golden Mobile Home Park (often called the Husky trailer park) have expressed concerns about the number of bears in and around the park and council began the process of deciding what to do about it at its May 6 meeting.

The park is located within a traditional bear travel corridor and has a creek, vegetation and potential attractants in the form of garbage that have compounded the problem. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that many residents don’t possess garages or sheds for proper waste storage, making curbside waste collection problematic.

With that, council was presented with four options with regards to the park’s curbside pickup program, which utilizes the same non-bear proof bins as the rest of Golden.

Council was given the option to either maintain the status quo, terminate curbside service to the park, establish a communal system for park residents, or provide bear proof bins to residents.

Mayor Ron Oszust was against the first and second options, saying that the problem should not be ignored and that terminating curbside collection to the park should not be considered at this time.

Bear-proof bins are much costlier than the current $75 bins provided by the town and come at a price tag of $300 each. With 68 residences in the park, the grand total would be approximately $25,000, with the report from CAO Jon Wilsgard stating that the money could be sourced from the existing Container Replacement Reserve, which currently holds approximately $71,000.

A few councillors were curious about the idea of a communal system, an idea that was implemented in Canmore in 1999 and has been successful while resulting in few, if any, bear incidents since.

The discussion concluded with Council seeking more information on costs associated with the implementation of the communal system.

Also at the May 6 meeting, the Town’s Five Year Financial Plan Amended Bylaw passed second and third readings without opposition, although Coun. Bruce Fairley admitted he wasn’t thrilled with this year’s budget.

“I’m going to support this resolution from a strategic point of view rather than with enthusiasm,” Coun. Fairley said.

While Coun. Fairley commended the work of Town staff, he doesn’t see it as a forward-looking budget, partly because it was driven by a strategic plan that was not created by several of the current councillors due to last fall’s election.

“If this budget came to me next year I absolutely would not support it,” he continued, while pointing out that, in his view, the budget doesn’t respond to the Age Friendly Community Plan that identified trails and sidewalks as a major issue for Golden’s seniors. Coun. Fairley also believes that the budget doesn’t address economic development concerns and he disagrees with the approach to the recreation budget.

“The timing of the process is quite difficult relative to the election,” Mayor Oszust said of the transition after the election, while echoing Coun. Fairley’s sentiments about the hard work from staff. “Fortunately that will only have to happen once every four years now as opposed to once every three years.”