British Columbia

Rossland approves stiffer fines for the bear unaware

After nine bears were destroyed in the town last year — an unusually high number, the mayor says — Rossland city council doubled fines for homeowners who leave out bear attractants on their yards.

'People have to draw the connection between their actions and what happens to the bears,' mayor says

Do not feed the bears! Especially in Rossland, where Mayor Kathy Moore wants to increase the fine for people who leave out bear attractants in their yards from $50 to $100. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Rossland residents need to keep their lawns free of "bear necessities" — fruit from fruit trees and poorly-secured garbage — or pay bigger fines.

City council doubled the fines residents pay for having bear attractants on their properties after officials had to kill nine bears last year.

The fine has been raised from $50 to $100.

"We're a mountain community, and we really do our best to try and get along with the wildlife," Mayor Kathy Moore told Radio West host Audrey McKinnon. "But it takes a little cooperation from the citizens to try and keep the wildlife safe and keep our citizens safe."

Moore says nine bears destroyed in a year is unusual. She says it may have been made worse by the increased pressure of the bad forest fires or low availability of berries.

However, she says, there have been cases in the city of people leaving garbage, fruit, birdseed and dog food outdoors, and Moore says it's time for people who do that to face consequences.

She says officials are constantly giving presentations and trying to increase awareness of human-bear interactions, but it hasn't been enough.

"People have to draw the connection between their actions and what happens to the bears," she said. "It's horrible. No one wants the bears killed."

Council approved the fine increase Monday night.

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West

To hear the full story, click on the audio labelled: Rossland mayor want to double fines for bear attractants