Is it true that the City took away bear-resistant garbage cans?

Fact Check

Long story short: There was a pilot project and we learned that the bins we tried out were not good enough.

At the end of the pilot project the City took away some bear-resistant garbage cans but not all of them. Residents in the pilot area had the option to keep their bear-resistant can when the project ended. Residents were notified by letter in October 2022 about the project ending and were asked to tell the City if they would like to keep the bear-resistant can. Those that did not respond by the deadline of December 31, 2022, had their garbage cans replaced.

What was the pilot project?

In April 2019, the City of Prince George launched the bear resistant cart pilot project. 300 garbage cans were provided to homes in neighborhoods that had higher rates of bear interactions.

In October 2022, a report updated Council on the project and stated that the pilot had come to an end.  Of the 300 carts in the field, 22 had the special latch completely replaced, a failure rate of approximately eight per cent. In addition to the latch replacements, staff frequently had to empty inoperable carts because of frozen latches or latches that were plugged with debris like garbage/compostables. Having the operator exit the garbage truck to unlatch carts is inefficient and defeats the purpose of an automated curbside garbage collection system.  

Why can’t we all just have bear-resistant carts?

The City has approximately 25 thousand automated garbage cans. It would cost at least $7 million to replace them all with bear-resistant cans (that is equal to a 5.8% tax increase). Achieving provincial Bear Smart status is something the City hopes for, but it is important to find the right solutions that are an effective use of money and resources. City staff are continuing to explore other options that are better suited for the weather conditions we face in Prince George.

Personal responsibility

We need your help to reduce bear interactions. Do your part to keep bears safe by:

  • Bringing your cart to the curb no earlier than 4 am on collection day.
  • Locking your garbage cart in a garage or shed where possible.
  • Securing your garbage cart using straps.
  • Cleaning your garbage cart regularly with bleach.
  • Removing ripe fruit and vegetables from trees and gardens.
  • Cleaning outdoor barbecues and grease traps regularly.
  • Feeding pets indoors and removing bird feeders from reach.
  • Rinsing out all recycling materials.
  • Freezing especially smelly garbage until collection day.