British Columbia

Port Coquitlam, B.C., homeowners must bear-proof garbage

Some Port Coquitlam homeowners will have to keep their trash safe from bears or face fines up to $150 because of a new city bylaw.
This bear was spotted in the photographer's Port Coquitlam backyard a few years ago. ((Submitted by Anne Mocock))
Some Port Coquitlam homeowners will have to keep their trash safe from bears or face fines up to $150 because of a new city bylaw.

Starting Aug. 4, all residents in "designated enforcement areas" will have two options: keep their garbage bins in a garage or shed, or keep them in special bins with a bear-resistant lock. Those with regular bins will only be allowed to take out the trash between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. on collection day.

This follows 125 bear sightings in the Vancouver suburb in the past 10 weeks, and a record number last year.

Don Scoones, the city's bylaw manager, adds that this year, more bears are doing more than rooting through curbside bins.

"What's of concern this year is the number of home invasions by bears. There's been I think four or five, so public safety is very much at risk, so we have to do something," said Scoones.

The Critter Guard, a bear-resistant lock, costs $75 including installation. ((CBC))
To discourage this kind of activity, Port Coquitlam engineering director Igor Zahynacz emphasizes the importance of compliance.

"Even if one person doesn't comply, and puts out the garbage early, and makes it a meal for a bear, to make it easy for a bear to come for a meal, then the whole block is at risk," said Zahynacz.

Louise Williams, the city's bear awareness co-ordinator, agrees the bylaws are necessary.

"In the last two weeks, I have stickered over 725 garbage bins that have been left out on the streets the night before garbage pickup," said Williams.

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