City preparing for bear season

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Media Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Prince George BC – With the weather warming up and early reports of bear sightings, the City of Prince George is urging the public to ensure their attractants – such as garbage, birdseed and fallen fruit – are inaccessible to bears to help mitigate human-wildlife conflicts. The City will be working collaboratively with the Conservation Officer Service (COS) and the RCMP throughout this spring and summer, as bear activity typically ramps up.

City bylaw staff will start handing out tickets this month for people who are not following the bylaws with respect to garbage bin placement and animal attractants. Residents are reminded it is everyone’s responsibility to help keep bears and humans safe.

Last year bylaw issued a record 170 tickets in relation to bear related complaints.

The complaints are centered around two bylaws:

  • Bylaw 7661 Garbage Regulation Bylaw section 6 which regulates the time that garbage cans can be put out and must be brought in (4 a.m. to 7 p.m. on collection day).
  • Bylaw 8425 Property Maintenance section 11 which covers animal attractants – like garbage, birdfeeders, and fruit trees.

Residents are also reminded of following additional bylaws as ways to help minimise the number of bear interactions:

  • Bringing carts to the curb no earlier than 4 am on collection day (and as close to 8 am as possible).
  • Do not overstuff garbage carts. The lid must be able to close. Additional carts or a bigger cart can be ordered by calling 311.
  • Lock garbage carts in a garage or shed where possible.
  • Secure garbage cart using straps.
  • Clean garbage carts regularly with bleach.
  • Remove ripe fruit and vegetables from trees and gardens.
  • Clean outdoor barbecues and grease traps regularly.
  • Feed pets indoors and remove bird feeders from reach.
  • Rinse out all recycling materials.
  • Freeze especially smelly garbage until collection day.

Under the Community Charter, Bylaw Officers have the authority to enter private property to investigate bylaw complaints without the permission of the homeowner.

Fines can be issued to the owner, renter or guest in the case of a short-term rental. Owners of rental properties need to make sure the tenants or houseguests are educated and aware of the bylaws and other measures to reduce bear attractants.

The fines are as follows:

  • Attract Dangerous Wildlife - $300
  • Feed Dangerous Wildlife - $300
  • Attract Wildlife with Birdfeeder - $300
  • Attract Wildlife with Fruit - $300
  • All fines under the Garbage Regulation are $100

“Last year we worked really hard on education and awareness before issuing fines, but this year we intend to really crack down by immediately issuing tickets on this for the safety of both the bears and our people,” bylaw manager Charlotte Peters said.

 “We need to ensure we’re doing our absolute best when it comes to things like securing garbage and picking up fruit.”

Who to call?

The City works in collaboration with the COS and the RCMP but it is important to know who to call and for what.

  • To report a bear conflict, aggressive bear behaviour or a bear in an urban area, call the COS Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
  • People can call 911 if they believe bear behaviour is indicating it is an immediate threat (ie chasing someone or trying to get into a house).
  • If you notice someone in your neighborhood is not following a wildlife attractant-related bylaw, such as garbage cans being put out too early, please call the City of Prince George Bylaw at 1-250-561-7622 or bylawstaff@princegeorge.ca

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Media contact:

Claire Thwaites, senior communications advisor
Mobile: 778-349-1386
Email: media@princegeorge.ca