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bear proofing

A key component of the Whistler Bear Task Force’s bear management plan is new garbage bins and new bylaws regulating garbage disposal, but everyone has to be on side for the plan to work. The task force hopes to introduce a bear management plan in the spring. A cornerstone of that plan will be new bear-proof commercial bins, as well as bear-proof bins available for pedestrians in the village. The municipality can institute the bear proof bins in public spaces, but more than half the garbage bins in the village area belong to private companies. Getting 100 per cent of those companies to comply is going to be necessary for the program to work, task force members said last week. "We need to get public support to make all the bins bear proof," said task force co-chair Sylvia Dolson. "It takes time to educate everyone." The existing municipal bylaw on garbage says only that people can’t leave garbage unattended outside. A new bylaw proposed by the task force would be specific to garbage bins, however, "We need to get people on board before the bylaw is in place," said municipal engineer Brian Barnett. The task force hopes to have the village area bear-proofed by the summer of 1998. The municipality has committed to buying a number of the pedestrian bear-proof bins, at about $1,000 each, and Carney’s Waste Systems has developed a new commercial bin that it feels will be bear proof. Owen Carney estimates it will cost about $500,000 to outfit all of Whistler with the new bear-proof commercial bins by this summer. Research done by the task force shows that once an area, such as the landfill, is bear-proofed the bears will go elsewhere for food — such as Function Junction. It’s critical then, that all businesses in Function Junction have bear-proof garbage bins before the landfill is bear-proofed. Other areas of the task force’s bear management plan will include educational programs that increase awareness of bears and the consequences of leaving garbage where bears can get it, bear-proofing the landfill and habitat protection.

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