The question of composting and which bear bin is best is still up in the air.
As a response to Rossland council’s request, the Regional District Kootenay Boundary sent environmental manager Janine Dougall to it’s July 11 meeting to provide more information on the question of which bin would serve Rossland residents and its bear population best for the proposed Green Bin Curbside Collection Program.
In a previous vote, council was deadlocked at 3-3 on which bin to choose for its constituents.
The city is seeking Bear Smart designation so selecting the bear-resistant garbage bin would be costly, but may be the best decision in the long run, reasoned Coun. Andy Morel at the earlier meeting.
Dougall presented three different bins and demonstrated the facility of use and opening and closing.
The standard 80L green bin, which will be distributed to residents free of charge, is a critter resistant bin, not bear resistant.
The larger bear resistant bins are more effective but come at a greater cost. If council decides on the larger bear-resistant bin it would cost the City of Rossland an extra $230,000 to provide all households with the bins. A regular bin costs the city about $50, while a bear-resistant one is $200.
Dougall stressed the importance of educating residents on using the bins and proper storage of organics as well as their garbage.
She also revealed that the Green Bin roll out will be pushed back from May of 2023 to September 2023 due to delays at the McKelvey Creek Landfill.
“I still need to know what you want as far as bins, because I do very much respect the fact that you are looking at Bear Smart Community,” said Dougall. “So I just need guidance.”
Mayor Moore asked Dougall if there were other funding opportunities to get more bear resistant bins, and she confirmed that there were, however, timelines and delivery models may provide challenges.
Dougall said the program will also distribute 21 per cent or 268 of the total number, 1,790, bins as bear resistant to Rossland.
Coun. Stewart Spooner questioned Dougall on proper storage and security, and whether there should be bylaws to enforce it.
“I’m a very big supporter of education, education, education but there is a point where folks just don’t get it nor do they potentially care,” said Dougall. “And I think that’s where the enforcement side comes in.”
Queries also came up about backyard composting, eradicating the use of plastics, and explaining how extensive the green bin collection program is for residents.
Mayor Moore questioned whether the green bins organics wouldn’t add to the bear problem and increase the number of encounters with residents.
“Even when people are taught the right thing, whether they do it or not is completely separate,” said Moore. “As far as I know we had 12 bears shot last year, 10 per cent of the total of bears shot in the Kootenays, so clearly we are doing something very wrong.
“I honestly see the organics program as adding to our bear issues.”
Dougall recognized Moore’s concerns and agreed that the Green Bin program was not a solution.
“If you have bear issues already, implementing an organics program is not going to change that,” said Dougall. “But it’s a prime opportunity to educate your community, because clearly they are not doing things right in probably a number of fashions.
“It’s not just organics, it’s backyard composting, and whether it’s being done properly. It’s fruit trees, it’s barbecues, it’s a whole host of things and garbage is one aspect.”
Dougall also noted that many people who compost properly may not need to participate in the program and participation is completely voluntary.
City CAO Bryan Teasdale asked for a timeline, and Dougall recommended that council provide direction by the end of August, 2022.