New Bylaw, Bigger Fines for Being 'Bear Careless'

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
July 20th, 2016

Another bear story:

I heard a noise in the night, outside, at a former residence.  Looking out the back door with a flashlight, I saw a disappointed-looking black bear gazing back at me over one shoulder, a bag of flour in her mouth, and a thick trail of flour leading from our neighbour’s back porch to the bear.  The neighbour was storing flour, pet food, and other fragrant food items on the back porch — using it as a pantry.  The bear didn’t even have to break in — just pushed the door open and grabbed a bag of flour and began hauling it away before realizing that she hadn’t taken a very satisfactory food item.  And, interrupted by me and my flashlight, she wandered off to seek something better somewhere else.

Fatter fines coming soon!

Fines in Rossland for storing food items or garbage where bears and other food /garbage aficionados  can smell them and get at them have just doubled, from $50  to $100 for  most offenses , but the fine for leaving fruit lying about on the ground is now $200, and the fine for leaving anti-freeze or paint where wildlife can get at it is now $400.

Each day constitutes a separate occasion for a fine. 

Remember that bears have a phenomenal sense of smell, and are very strong.

Rossland has many bear-aware citizens, but too many others are still careless of the lives of some of our area’s original residents and act in ways that end in death for bears, or just make unsightly and stinky messes spread out on our streets  because dogs, ravens, bears or raccoons have been enticed into ripping garbage bags open in search of goodies. 

The bylaw requires us all to put our garbage out at the curb in lidded garbage cans, no earlier than 5:00 am on the morning of garbage collection.

Rossland Council expressed hopes at its regular  meeting on July 18 that the new, improved “Wildlife Attractant Control  Bylaw” with increased fines will help create better bear-awareness in the community, better stewardship of our fruit trees and garbage,  and more secure storage of food and other attractants,  resulting in  fewer bear killings — with the added benefit of  tidier streets.

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