With bears set to gorge to prepare for hibernation, B.C. Conservation Officer Service is reminding people not to leave their waste bins out overnight.
Sgt. Stuart Bates, with BCCOS, said residents are not allowed to put out garbage the night before, adding that COs patrolled Wednesday and found numerous violations of bylaws that he said aren’t new rules.
“You cannot, by law, put out your garbage out the night before pickup…” said Bates. “This is like a 10-year-old law. The first few years we provided advice, the next couple of years we started handing out warnings. It’s not helping, it’s not working, so we started handing out tickets last year and people aren’t very happy with me.”
Bates said seven tickets were written Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., more than 12 hours before the next day’s garbage pickup.
Bates said conservation officers generally go to areas where there are bear calls or where there have historically been bear sightings. The reason enforcement is occurring now is that conservation officers know bears come for fruit trees on the outskirts of areas like Parksville and Nanaimo at this time of year.
“We know they’re going to be here at the end of September and October, so we’re going now because we’re trying to head the bears off from that garbage and have people secure their garbage before the bears show up…” said Bates. “If they just get the apples, it’s a temporary food source, then they leave. But if they come here for the apples and they find that garbage, they’ll never leave and then I end up dealing with them and I really don’t want to have to deal with them, I would prefer not to.”