Village of Montrose addresses wildlife and zoning plans

Montrose has enacted a new bylaw to help with the growing number of bear sightings.

In response to a growing number of bear sightings and a delegation to Montrose council earlier this year, councillors officially enacted the village’s “Waste Management and Wildlife Attractant Bylaw” during the Monday night meeting.

“We had such a bear issue last year that we had to get something on paper,” said Coun. Mary Gay.

“People seem to forget and put their garbage out the night before pick up which attracts bears and other wildlife from miles away.”

After a dozen bear sightings in the Montrose community in 2012, and numerous phone calls to the village hall and conservation officer,  staff began researching existing B.C. municipal bear bylaws to determine a direction that was suitable for Montrose.

“I like the way this bylaw reads now because it includes all wildlife and makes everyone in the village responsible to put away their attractants,” added Gay.

The bylaw specifies durable garbage containers and garbage bags, not to exceed 20 kilograms, cannot be placed curbside before 4:30 a.m., but must be readily accessible by 7:30 a.m.  on the day designated by the village for garbage collection.

In addition, all refuse must be contained, tied, or otherwise sealed to prevent spillage or entry of water.

If garbage is strewn or scattered by animals, it is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the property to clean it up in a timely manner.

Violation of bylaw provisions could have offenders paying up to $2,000 for infractions plus additional costs related to the fine.

The list of attractants, defined as any substance which could reasonably be expected to attract wildlife, or does attract wildlife, includes but is not limited to, household refuse, kitchen waste, beverage containers, barbeque grills, pet food, diapers, oil and other petroleum and chemical products.

“We are just trying to bring our bylaws in line with everybody else’s,” concluded Coun. Cindy Cook.

Further housekeeping duties during the meeting included the enactment of the official community plan amendment bylaw which allows council to consider temporary use permits in all village     zones.

“If somebody wanted to start a business in their home, they have to apply for a temporary use permit,” explained acting Mayor Don Berriault.

“This allows one or two years to give the person a chance to see if the business will work and gives surrounding neighbours an opportunity to have a say.”

Next, council gave a second reading to a bylaw amendment that officially documents each Montrose property with a land use designation.

During a review of Montrose’s current zoning map, staff uncovered inconsistencies in land use classification, and in response the village is amending the community plan, including development permit areas.

“This is a big housekeeping duty,” said Berriault. “Properties were called one thing in the official plan but on the map were zoned something else. There was even a parcel of land brought into the village a number of years ago but is still outside village boundaries on the map. This bylaw updates all of this.”

Finally, council gave a second reading to establish potable water and wastewater use rates in 2014.

Montrose residents will be paying a 2 per cent increase to keep up with fuel costs, wages and related increases, added Berriault.