A Coquitlam councillor has taken aim at the company that collects the city's trash, claiming its lax performance has led to two incidents involving hungry bears in the past week.
Richard Stewart has accused International Paper Industries of failing to stick to its collection schedules, often leaving garbage on curbsides for days — the perfect lure for bears looking for an easy meal.
"It's a breach of their contract with the citizens of Coquitlam, and it's putting not only the citizens at incredible inconvenience, but it's putting our citizens at risk and it's putting bears at risk, and that's unconscionable," Stewart said, adding that the pattern of occasional missed collections has established a pattern of behaviour in bears that has "contributed immensely to this bear situation."
He said he will be pushing to have IPI's contract with the city cancelled as soon as possible.
Fellow councillor and former mayor Lou Sekora confirmed city hall has been flooded with complaints about garbage being left behind.
"There's not a day goes by that I don't get a whole bunch of calls about the poor garbage pickup," Sekora told CBC News.
IPI officials insisted there was garbage pickup the day before Thursday's bear incident.
This is not the first time the company has been criticized for its performance in the Lower Mainland.
Port Moody has had similar garbage pickup problems. Less than two years ago, a resident was attacked by a bear after IPI left her garbage behind, claiming it was over the allowable weight.
Port Moody council has decided not to renew its contract with IPI when it expires next summer. Instead, it will turn the work over to city employees.
Mike Nihls, a Coquitlam manager, said the problem with garbage pickup "is something city council takes seriously, and we're working with the contractor to make sure we get the best performance as possible ..."