Montrose council agrees to electric fences within village

“It's how we keep them out of landfills and they are pulsating so they won't hurt people." ~ Conservation Officer Ben Beetlestone

Conservation Officer Ben Beetlestone says, when installed properly, electric fences work great at keeping bears away.

“It’s how we keep them out of landfills and they are pulsating so they won’t hurt people,” he explained.

“And the animals learn real fast, to stay away.”

That’s another check for Montrose council’s reconsideration about use of electric fences, which is an issue that reared its head a few times this year.

The village’s current zoning bylaw prohibits electric fences in all zones, and prohibits barbed wire in residential zones or on a fence less than two metres from adjacent ground level in other zones.

With more than one resident wanting to install an electric fence to field away bears, Monday night, Montrose council agreed to a bylaw amendment, and allow regulated use of electric fences.

Those updated guidelines include: the fence must be located at least one metre in from all exterior property lines; the controller and charger must meet CSA requirements such as current cannot be conducted in excess of 10,000 volts; a proper grounding system must be in place; the fence must be maintained and checked periodically by meter; and appropriate signage has to be visible.

Additionally, the bylaw states it is the duty of the person installing and using the electric fence system to comply with associated regulations.

The motion carried, but not all council members agreed to the change.

Coun. Cindy Cook says installing a fence doesn’t address the problem with wildlife attractants, it simply protects the one property.

The bylaw update won’t be in place until next year, clarified Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk, adding the amendment is subject to three readings and a public hearing before final adoption.