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Letter to the editor

What’s the hurry?

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Page 6 of 8

PS – Whistler-Blackcomb has been very silent as to what their plans are for pay parking in their lots.

Gary K. McDonnell

Whistler/North Vancouver

Cleaning up after the festival

RE: Pemberton Festival and garbage

First, I have to congratulate all stakeholders who pulled off this extraordinary event, with so much positive praise. The accomplishment is huge.

However, I am left with a bitter taste overall because of one major concern. As a past professional wildlife/bear manager, I was concerned to see the lack of a bear/garbage management plan for two reasons: 1) public safety and 2) wildlife conservation. It was obvious by the one can in the Sabre pit servicing hundreds of vehicles, the garbage left strewn on the side of the roads, and the post-festival garbage in general, that the severe lack of available garbage cans (let alone bear proof bins) were the identifiable cause. For festival organizers marketing and capitalizing on our relatively pristine environment, Live Nation should be ashamed for not demonstrating nearly adequate garbage/bear management in either planning or action.

Living in the mountains, we are all generally aware of bear behavior. Bear research shows that a bear will not spend a full day foraging in the wild for food when it can get the same amount of food in 15 minutes from garbage. Further, research shows that bears which get into garbage, by being in human areas, become habituated to humans. Consequently habituated bears show less fear of humans over time, will seek out food in homes, will not flee, etc.

Direct conflicts with humans typically result in the bear showing defensive-aggressive behaviour, as in the Coquitlam bear attack. The bear ends up getting shot; the humans end up traumatized, severely injured, or killed. This is why professional bear managers know that a garbage bear is, eventually, a dead bear. It is also why public safety managers know that habituated bears pose a serious public safety threat.

The more than five cubs who reside near the festival site, no doubt will eventually become problem bears in the Village of Pemberton or Mt. Currie now that they have been taught about easy food findings in garbage. Within a few years, they may severely injure someone and they will all likely be shot.

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