The Town of Canmore has raised the fines for residents who neglect their fruit trees and leave animal attractants in their yard.
Residents can expect an increase from $100 to $250, which was the original amount decided on in 2017, if they fail to pick ripe fruit off their trees or leave other potential attractants on their property.
The amended bylaw is aimed at highlighting the ongoing issue of human-wildlife interactions in the town and what can be done to reduce encounters.
“That includes for attractants such as fruit trees but also bird feeders or nectar associated with hummingbird feeders,” sustainability coordinator for Canmore, Lori Rissling Wynn said.
Officials with the town said they don’t plan on coming out in full force, giving residents the chance to trim their trees or remove them following the first warning.
The hope is that with a decrease in trees and feeders, animals will learn to find food elsewhere, benefitting both residents and the animals.
“The more we can do to mitigate and reduce the risk of wildlife attractants within the community, our hope is that bears stop coming in and looking for those non-natural food sources,” Wynn said.
The plan also targets the safety of the animals in the community, as one too many encounters can prove deadly for the bears.
“A couple of months ago we had a black bear that had to be re-located for accessing unsecured garbage,” WildSmart program director Nick de Ruyter said. “After being relocated it came back and accessed garbage again, so that bear was relocated and euthanized.”
The town has also looked at a number of different plans that would target attractants in the community and has considered implementing a cost-sharing plan that would financially assist residents with the removal of trees.
Canmore is also looking to lead by example, creating a program for the removal of trees on town-owned land, which it hopes to get underway beginning in 2020.