The City of Fernie has upgraded some of their dumpsters to bear-resistant containers.

Bringing bear bins to Fernie

The City of Fernie has recently upgraded all of its facilities dumpsters to be more bear resistant.

The City of Fernie has recently upgraded all of its facilities dumpsters to be more bear resistant. Establishments including the arena, aquatic centre and public works yard have received upgraded dumpsters, featuring a latching system that uses gravity to secure itself.

Wildsafe Coordinator for Fernie and the Elk Valley, Kathy Murray stated to The Free Press that 67 per cent of human-bear calls that conservation officers respond to are because a bear has been attracted by garbage.

“So far this year we have been good with bear sightings,” she said. “The berry crop is really good, but lets not kid ourselves. Once the berries dry up, the bears will be coming into town.”

Murray hopes that as the public sees the City implementing strategies to reduce human-wildlife conflict, people will be more likely to follow suit. She has been a proponent for bear-resistant dumpsters for some time, and while she acknowledges the work the City has done thus far, she hopes that Fernie will offer public garbage dumpsters in the near future.

“I was really pushing for an extra four dumpsters that would be available to the public. Currently the new bear resistant dumpsters are for  city-use only,” she said. “That way we would have something for second home owners, people without garages, people who are leaving town for a vacation or visitors. It is an option for safe garbage disposal 24/7.”

New building developments that are on the perimeter of Fernie like Parastone in the Montane area have also heard from Murray. She believes that if developers can introduce communal bear-resistant bins from the start it will go a long way to avoiding human-wildlife conflict after the neighbourhoods become established.

“I have encouraged them to go toward communal bear resistant dumpsters because it is an ideal opportunity for them to really set a president and show how this would work,” she said. “Montane, for example, is in prime wildlife habitat, most of the people that are buying property there are second home owners, they leave on a Sunday afternoon and the garbage will sit there for four days. If they have a communal bear resistant dumpster that will help.”

The dumpsters, which are currently in use by many businesses and communities, can be made bear resistant with extra effort. Murray believes that the newly added bear-resistant bins reduce the chance of human error.

“It is a latching system; the bears have not figured out how to open the latch. There are no gaps in the [new dumpsters], the regular dumpsters that are all over downtown can be bear resistant through the chain and carabineer which should be kept closed at all times. The advantage of these bear resistant dumpsters is that the latch is kept closed by gravity. It is closed 24/7 and therefore inaccessible to wildlife 24/7,” she said. “Even in the Fernie bylaw, dumpsters should be closed during the day and then closed and secured at the end of the business day. It is only as bear resistant as the user.”

This week, Murray will be completing bear hazard audits of Fernie’s perimeter with the summer bylaw students. They will be going door to door and seeing if there are any attractants like unsecured garbage or unpicked fruit trees. It will be an educational campaign but Murray will be noting addresses for follow up, which she will submit to the bylaw officer.

“It will be between 1 and 4 p.m., on the outskirts of Ridgemont, Mount Proctor, Mount Minton, and 11th Avenue in the Annex. We do not want to single people out but I think it is important to work from the outside in,” she said. “If you were a bear and you get to the outside perimeter and there is no food you’re not likely to go farther into town. They are more likely to go back to the wilderness, on the other hand if they get to the perimeter and there is garbage and apples everywhere then they will keep working their way in like last year.”

 

Just Posted

Ghostriders accelerating towards playoffs

Fernie’s first playoff game of the season is this Sunday, February 25 in Sparwood.

Fernie Snow Drags; an ongoing tradition

Like wild animals filled with an everlasting rage, sleds flew down the… Continue reading

Shypitka reacts to BC budget

Kootenay East MLA laments increased taxation, spending

Critical Condition: ‘People are dying from treatable medical conditions’

Problems with ambulance service policies are systemic and province-wide, advocacy group leader says.

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Three new judges appointed to B.C. Supreme Court

Two spots filled in Vancouver, one in New Westminster

BCHL Today: Merritt’s Buckley nets scholarship and Vees slam Salmon Arm

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Crowns asks for more time in Victoria double murder of young sisters

Andrew Berry’s next court appearance will be in three weeks to set a date for trial to begin

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Women’s ice hockey team loses first Olympic game in 20 years

Team Canada added two silvers and a bronze to their total

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Most Read