The city is hopeful that re-installing two bear proof bins won’t come back to bite them again.
Trail council agreed to pull two previously purchased dumpsters out of storage for communal use this summer after the city’s partner, Natural Control Alternatives, sweetened the deal by upping its share of cost to 75 per cent.
The former deal began in 2009 as a 50/50 cost sharing agreement. But an increase in tipping fees and abuse of the bear bins, which are meant for household garbage of Trail residents only, had the city removing the public service in 2015.
Since then, Public Works Manager Larry Abenante says he’s had numerous calls from people complaining about the absence of bins – so the city’s ready to try again in hopes of preventing bruins from following their nose to garbage left unsecured in neighbourhoods.
The service is run on an honour system, and is only for city residents, said Abenante.
“Ironically I’ve had calls from people complaining who don’t even live in the City of Trail,” he reiterated. “This is for household garbage only, not construction material or anything else, and for Trail residents only,” Abenante added. “The purpose of the bin is to have an option for residents who may be leaving town and pick up is not for a few days, or for residents who may not have a proper place to house their garbage.”
He reminds users about the honour pay service, each bin has a box attached to deposit $3 per bag of household refuse.
“In the past it’s been used to get rid of stuff other than garbage,” Abenante clarified. “And we have put cameras in.
“Last time we caught one individual taking in three van loads, when the bin was full we checked the box and there was only $4.35 in it – obviously people weren’t paying.”
In the next few weeks, one bin will be placed at the public works yard in Glenmerry and the other on Hazelwood Drive at the water intake in Lower Sunningdale.
Outweighing the possibility of abuse is the reason for the bins – prevention of human-wildlife interaction, specifically bears.
Council’s assent is proactive after a very busy June of bear sightings mostly in the Gulch, West Trail and Glenmerry. In one West Trail case, the bear was killed.
“One bear had become habituated and actually entered a basement so it had to be destroyed,” confirmed Desiree Profili, Rossland/Trail Wildsafe BC coordinator. “After canvassing the area one of the main concerns was that some of the houses had no secure areas to store garbage and residents were very interested in having access to large bear proof bins so that storing garbage would be less of an issue.”
She says animal activity has slowed down this month as berries and other natural foods become more available in the wild.
But that doesn’t mean the bears won’t be back.
“The biggest attractants in all three communities (Rossland, Warfield and Trail) were garbage, compost and bird seed,” Profili explained. “Most people I’ve talked to during my canvassing are very receptive to information being provided about storing garbage…as we progress into the fall months and fruit continues to ripen the main message is to manage your trees – pick your fruits and nuts and keep them stored inside where wildlife cannot access any of it.”
Profili also reminds the public that while bears are definitely a major concern, there’s other animals to consider.
“Keep all wildlife wild because while deer, elk, raccoons and coyotes seem less threatening than bears they can all be very aggressive, cause property damage and injuries if they become habituated.”
Notably, Rossland/Trail WildsafeBC reported 11 bears killed in Trail, nine in Rossland in 2015 – the highest number since 2010.