When Crystal McMillan spoke at the July 9 council meeting in Qualicum Beach, she had a very simple message for residents — one that still doesn’t seem to be sinking in, however.
That message, said the Bear Smart BC consultant, is that bears have always lived in the mid-Island area and they always will, so people have to learn how to get along with them.
That involves, she said, not leaving out attractants such as garbage or recycling overnight. As well, bird feeders and unharvested fruit trees can provide a tasty snack for a bear — and a reason to return to the area.
In particular, McMillan said, the west side of the community has several corridors used by resident black bears, making it a gateway for the community. People living in this area need to take particular care when dealing with their garbage.