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Bears relocated after sow separated from cubs during Ironman race

Whistler Briefs: Meadow Park sports centre pool to close for five weeks beginning in late august



A family of bears was relocated from Whistler last weekend after competitors in Sunday's Ironman Canada triathlon got a little too close for comfort to the sow and her cubs.

Conservation officers responded to a report at approximately 4 p.m. on July 26 that a sow was separated from her three cubs and had become agitated.

"When we got there, I spoke to a bystander who said the sow was on the opposite side of the Valley Trail from her three cubs and the Ironman competitors were running in between them," said conservation officer Tim Schumacher.

The distressed sow was reportedly "bluff charging" onlookers near the intersection of Spearhead Drive and Blackcomb Way.

"Bears doing what bears do, she was defending her cubs," added Schumacher.

The animals were treed, tranquilized and moved to suitable habitat south of Whistler, Schumacher said.

The bear and cubs involved have a history of conflict with humans, according to the Conservation Officer Service (COS), with several reports from this summer of the sow bluff charging people on the Valley Trail.

"People often didn't notice she was there and then all of a sudden the sow and cubs are really close to somebody and she feels threatened," explained Schumacher.

Another wildlife sighting was reported on race day after a bear crossed Highway 99 just north of Meadow Park, forcing several competitors on their bikes to slow down when they came within six metres of the animal, Schumacher said.

Ironman committed funds to the COS this year for additional staffing during the event after two bears were reported near the triathlon course in 2014.

To report any wildlife conflicts or sightings in populated areas, call the Conservation Officer Service RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

Meadow Park readies for fall closures

The public swimming pool at the Meadow Park Sports Centre will be closed for almost five weeks beginning at the end of August.

The maintenance work in the pool includes installing new filters and pumps to improve water quality, as well as deck recoating, pool basin repainting and rebuilding the sauna.

The closure stretches from Sunday, Aug. 23 after 6 p.m. until Sunday, Sept. 27.

The pool isn't the only part of Meadow Park getting a fall facelift.

The Fitness Centre will be closed for a week from Aug. 29 to Sept. 4. The Fitness Studio will be closed the following week. During this time the municipality will be replacing a large portion of the weight room equipment, which has been in place for 19 years.

The RMOW has budgeted $860,000 for pool shutdown, mechanical replacements and infrastructure upgrades.