With bear season in full swing, the City of Coquitlam is continuing its crackdown on residents who leave their trash out.
But even with a $500 fine many don’t seem to be getting the message.
In the span of just April to June of 2017, Bylaw officers had already handed out 325 tickets to residents who left trash bins out before collection day.
“By comparison last year in 2016, we issued a total of about 300 for the whole year,” said Steffanie Warriner, manager of environmental services for Coquitlam.
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.
Coquitlam also requires all other potential attractants, including bird feeders, compost and fruit trees, also be secure and not accessible to wildlife.
Of all the Metro Vancouver municipalities, Coquitlam generates the highest bear-related call volume to the BC Conservation Officers Service.
It’s a major concern for Coquitlam, which says bears quickly become accustomed to eating food from human sources, increasing the risk of conflict with humans.
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Last year the city also received a record 1,380 calls.
On the bright side, Warriner said some neighbourhoods do seem to be getting the message.
“Neighbourhoods where there has been historically more bear sightings, those neighbourhoods had actually better compliance rates.”
There have already been several high-profile interactions with bears in 2017, including a bear caught on camera opening a van door, and another that was put down by conservation officers after being spotted on a Vancouver golf course.
In May, the Conservation Officer Service destroyed 119 black bears, the highest number in a single month in the last six years.
-With files from Emily Lazatin and Yuliya Talmazan