The bears are out in full force, looking for that reliable resident that doesn’t manage their waste, according to Bear Aware coordinator Sharon Weider, who adds that it appears last season’s mistakes have only added to the problem.
“The reports that I’m getting is that they are right off the bat breaking into people’s sheds, and garages and there has been a lot of property damage,” she said. “They’re not satisfied with just cruising the neighbourhood and seeing what they can find, they’re actually breaking into garages, which makes me think that it could very well be the same bears from last year.”
With several reports of bears rummaging through municipal trash, Weider has canvassed Rossland’s businesses for financial support in bringing in bear-proof bins on a trial period for the Golden City’s downtown.
She has nearly secured $900 to rent three solar-powered trash compactors for three months, along with recyclable bins to be placed by the city’s post office, Ferraro Foods and Best Food Mart along Columbia Avenue.
“My big thing in reducing garbage is if you recycle and compost there isn’t a lot left over for them to get into,” she said, noting that Trail would benefit from a similar project.
Bear Aware’s Trail program has just received $10,000 from Teck Metals after the mining giant agreed to pay $325,000 toward seven community environmental initiatives after participating in a community justice forum. This was in relation to discharging mercury into the Columbia River in Trail last year, just weeks after leachate from Teck’s lead and zinc smelting operation overflowed into Stoney Creek. Weider waits for city council’s direction on what they’d like the money to be used for.
“I’ve had quite a few reports of the bears in the downtown area,” said Weider. “I don’t know if it’s the same bear but I’ve heard of one hanging around 7-Eleven, The Spot and the Best Western parking lot.”
She’s already knows of three bears that were destroyed because they became too habitual.
“If a bear gets more destructive and is breaking and entering into property and not being afraid of people, then from the safety point of view (conservation officers) have to try and trap those bears and when they are trapped, they are destroyed,” she said. “Keep that garbage away from them and really the sheds and the garages are no longer enough, people really have to reduce the amount of garbage and recycle.”