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Residents fined for shoddy garbage/recycling upkeep

Garbage disposal continues to be an issue in Whistler as bears wake up

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Four Whistler residents have been given a $230 ticket for stockpiling garbage inside and leaving recycling outside their home.

The issue came to light on April 10 at roughly 9 p.m. when the residents returned to their home in Blueberry and suspected there was a bear in the mudroom. Roughly eight or nine bags of garbage were in the mudroom, in addition to bags of recycling outside.

Police and Conservation Officer Tim Schumaker attended the scene.

"This particular residence had a history of a bear trying to access the residence last year," said Shumaker.

Together, the authorities developed a plan to get the bear out.

In the end, however, there was no evidence to show that a bear had accessed the house and the garbage mess was attributed to the dog.

Shumaker gave brief highlights of the incident at April 14's Committee of the Whole meeting, which included an update from the Bear Working Group.

It's a problem that continues to raise its head in Whistler; residents who do not have cars, who cannot take the garbage on the bus, are left with few options. There are companies that will pick up garbage, for a fee.

Heather Beresford, manager of environmental stewardship for the resort municipality, said the group is focused this year on getting out the message that a habituated bear is not a good thing. She is calling on the community members to report bears in their backyards.

"We have a higher tolerance for behaviour that wouldn't be tolerated in other areas," Beresford told council.

"A bear in your backyard, that's not normal behaviour for a bear."

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden questioned that message, adding that she lives on the edge of a forest.

"A bear in my backyard is kind of normal behaviour," she said.

At the heart of the issue, however, is the fact that the bears are getting more and more habituated, which makes them increasingly likely to move from the backyard to closer to the homes.

Shumaker said there would be fewer bear problems if people refused to tolerate them in their backyards, but there is a reluctance to alert the authorities, people believing this will spell an end to the bear.

A phone call to the CO to haze a bear out of a neighbourhood could ultimately save its life.

To report a problem call 905-BEAR (2327).

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