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Have your garbage bins been tagged to stay Bear Aware?

Local volunteers have been working hard to raise bear concern locally.
Golden Bear Aware is paying close attention to garbage bins being put out early on garbage day.

Sadie Parr

Golden Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator

Garbage is still killing bears across the province and just outside the Town of Golden.

Approximately 500 bears are killed every year in B.C., most of them because they have become habituated to garbage, fruit and other bear attractants in communities, making then bolder around humans. This risk often leads them to being destroyed.

To combat this, the Golden Bear Aware Program may have recently tagged your garbage bin. The program co-ordinator and volunteers have been working late nights in neighbourhoods that have a scheduled curb side pick-up the next morning.  The idea is to tag garbage bins that have been set out the night before.

There is a “no garbage out until 6 a.m. bylaw” in Golden, that was developed over years of Bear Aware working with city officials.

The tags are readily peeled off, and are administered for educational purposes.  Garbage tagging has the support of the Bylaw Officer and Conservation Officer locally, and is used throughout B.C.

Upset residents may be reassured to learn that this is a step in education to avoid a larger fine from a ticket issued through bylaws or provincial fines against attracting wildlife.

There have been eight black bears destroyed in 2012 just beyond Town of Golden limits; six of them resulting from bears accessing garbage that was not securely stored.

Bear Aware remains on public property which includes curbside.

“The limitation here is that bins on private property will not be stickered even though they still serve as a bear attractant.  It is up to the people of community to decide if they will make the changes necessary to ensure human and bear safety.  If you have a garage or shed, storing your bins in them will help keep them out of sight and smell of bears,” explains Sadie Parr, Golden’s Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator.

Residents living in mobile home parks have limited options for securely storing their bins:  “We will be initiating public surveys for some of these areas to consider a pilot project where a communal dumpster may replace curbside collection.”

There are still many factors to consider, but they must first determine if there is local support.

Some people will respond negitively to the tagging program.

Shift workers may have no alternative under a curbside garbage collection system but to put garbage out overnight.  There are solutions to these issues (i.e., freezing odoriferous garbage, having a neighbour put the garbage out etc.).  The bottom line is that through this type of outreach, responsible garbage management is improving.

Keep garbage indoors until the morning of collection and call 1-877-952-7277  to report a bear sighting, property damage or wildlife conflict.

Bear Aware acknowledges the financial support of Columbia Basin Trust the B.C. Conservation Foundation, the B.C. Ministry of Environment, and the Town of Golden.