The City of Coquitlam has issued double the number of fines for illegally leaving garbage out compared to last year.
The City requires that residents secure their garbage, food waste and recycling at all times, and not place it at the curb prior to 5:30 a.m. on their day of collection.
The City also requires all other potential attractants, including bird feeders, compost and fruit trees, also be secure and not accessible to wildlife.
Failure to not secure garbage and other attractants can result in a fine up to $500.
In all, 70 tickets have been issued so far this year; which is approximately double the number issued by the same time last year.
The City says bears become habituated very quickly to accessing residential garbage, which increases the potential for human-bear conflicts and creates both a public safety and animal welfare issue.
“This is a major concern to the City, and is particularly challenging at this time of year (and again in the fall) when the bears are hungry and natural food supply is low,” said Steffanie Warriner, Manager, Environmental Services Division with the City of Coquitlam.
Warriner says in response to growing concern over non-compliance with the bylaw requirements, the City began enforcing its bylaws with greater focus in fall 2015.
“While the majority of Coquitlam residents are aware of the City’s requirements and are doing their part to responsibly secure garbage and other attractants, unfortunately there are still too many that are choosing to not follow the requirements,” she said.
So far in 2017, the City has received approximately 100 more service requests related to bears, wildlife and concerns about unsecured garbage and other attractants as compared to the same time last year.
Warriner says the majority of calls they receive are from residents who are concerned, are following the requirements themselves, and want to help ensure that everyone in Coquitlam is also doing their part to not attract bears and other wildlife into residential neighbourhoods.
“At this point it is very difficult to find someone in the City of Coquitlam who is not aware that bears live here and that unsecured garbage is the number one attractant for bears,” Warriner said. “Those who choose to violate the City’s bylaw requirements should expect to receive a ticket from the City and a penalty up to $500 for each violation.”