Call it the bear necessities of life.
A Natural Control Alternatives Society (NCA) based in the Greater Trail region has asked the city to consider a partnership on placing a large, communal, bear-proof garbage bin in the city to decrease bruin-human encounters.
NCA has proposed to pay 50 per cent of the purchase price for a bin—meant to be “overflow” between curbside pick up days—and 50 per cent of maintenance costs (waste management costs) with the city of paying the remaining amount.
NCA member Brenda McLeod said in a letter to council that, after consulting with Sharon Wieder of WildSafe BC, she verified residents of Rossland have asked for and been appreciative of waste disposal options to use between regular curbside garbage pick-ups.
“Wieder noted garbage related incidents remain the singular most common source of resident encounters with the bear population,” said McLeod.
City staff did not know what the ongoing costs of the bins would be. Darrin Albo, city manager of Public Works, said the track record for Rossland has proven large, communal bins do not work and were “abused,” but NCA has assured the city it will not put the onus on them for the bin.
“We are not giving permission for this at this time, it will be coming back to council,” said Mayor Greg Granstrom.
City staff will ascertain the costs involved before the issue comes back to council for a decision.
Last year NCA placed two communal, bear-proof garbage bins in areas of Trail, with higher bear encounters with garbage, which are open to the public from spring until fall for garbage disposal after large events, barbeques and between curbside pickups.
The bins have had steady, regular use and are monitored by NCA.
“To date, there have been only positive results and usage,” said McLeod.
NCA is a small group whose present members are from Rossland, Trail and Fruitvale and are dedicated to decreasing encounters with wildlife in urban areas.
Already there are several smaller bear-proof garbage bins installed in the downtown area—with a total of 15 in all expected. Two bins have been installed, via a partnership between the city, WildSafe BC and the Columbia Basin Trust.