Port Moody raises garbage-related fines to $500 to protect bears
Council hopes tenfold increase for bylaw offences will change behaviour around trash bins
People who violate the garbage pickup rules in Port Moody could soon wind up with heftier fines, which are being raised to protect bears.
Mayor and council voted unanimously on Tuesday to raise the fine for violating the solid waste bylaw from $50 for first offences to $500.
The amount goes up to $750 for second offences and a third will result in a fine of $1,000.
A group called Port Moody Bear Aware made the suggestion to council, in an effort to encourage residents to not leave their garbage bins out overnight before collection day, as it attracts bears to residential areas.
"These bears are our neighbours and we're encroaching into their territory, so we need to take care of them," said David Tate, founder of the group.
Several of the councillors shared their own bear encounter stories and highlighted the importance of protecting them.
"I don't think that anything short of co-existence, anything short of integrating them as neighbours into the community is acceptable in Port Moody," said Mayor Rob Vagramov.
Coun. Diana Dilworth recognized that people may not prioritize garbage etiquette due to busy lives with kids and work or mobility challenges for seniors.
"But I think an increased fine is going to change social behaviour, and that's what we need to do at this point," Dilworth said.
The number of bear calls to conservation authorities is on the rise in B.C.
In August, there were 2,474 calls for black bear sightings across the province and 82 were killed, according to conservation officer statistics.
In the same month last year, there were 1,556 calls and 21 were shot.