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Coquitlam wants residents to help keep bears away

Coquitlam residents face stiff fines for attracting bears
WATCH ABOVE: More than two dozen residents in Coquitlam are going to have to pay up after putting their garbage out way to early. Jennifer Palma explains why this is bad news for the bears.

Some Coquitlam residents are going to have to pay up after putting their garbage cans out way too early and attracting bears to the neighbourhood.

Since January, the city of Coquitlam has handed out 1,300 warnings to residents who are putting their garbage out before morning pick-up, but now they’ll be cracking down on tickets.

So far over 100 tickets at $500 each have been handed out.

“I don’t know why people aren’t paying attention,” said Teri Towner, Coquitlam city councillor.

Last week, a 10-year-old girl was mauled by a black bear in Port Coquitlam. She was sent to hospital with serious injuries.

After the attack, conservation officers found a ransacked garbage can in the bushes.

“I’m hoping that this very public, very upsetting event, will get the message across,” said Towner.

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Port Coquitlam mandates that residents secure their garbage and kitchen waste in either a wildlife-resistant enclosure such as a garage or shed or by using a wildlife-resistant lock certified by the BC Conservation Foundation.

They must not set out their garbage cans any earlier than 5:30 a.m. on garbage day and bins must be secured again by 7 p.m.