As bear traffic increases this fall in Revelstoke, the Revelstoke Bear Aware encourages Revelstokians to be vigilant in securing bear attractants. The group’s Facebook page notes there are between six and eight known black bears and one grizzly wandering city limits.
Mass Spataro, an owner and managing broker at Re/max Revelstoke Realty, is also the property owner of an apartment building in the courthouse neighborhood. Next door is a greenway corridor for animals, and bears are frequently in the area.
“The conservation officer came by and noticed that our industrial garbage container, even when chained shut, allowed bears partial access,” Spataro explains.
Rather than ignoring the problem, Spataro decided to contact Waste Management, the company supplying the large green bin, and discover if a more secure container was available.
“It’s a good bin,” he says of his new bear proof container. “I didn’t know they were readily available, but I’m glad I asked. It’s actually shocking that every business with industrial garbage in Revelstoke doesn’t have a bear proof container.”
Jackie Lang, Area Manager of Public Affairs and Communications for the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia, says the bear proof containers are proven at keeping bears out of the bins. “We have some available and more on order,” Lang notes.
If using regular bins, Lang recommends chains and padlocks. “It may be the best and immediate solution. All bins should have chains, and we will provide the first lock free of charge. Our number one recommendation is to not overload the containers. For some businesses and organizations, this may require requesting more frequent service. When containers are serviced more often it results in less attraction for bears.”
For Spataro, a small increase in payment for the container in an effort to avoid human bear conflict was an easy choice to make. “I think communities with high bear traffic should be encouraging businesses to upgrade their bins with bear proof bins if they are available,” he says. “It would be nice if there was some kind of initiative or subsidisation to help balance that price difference, but it’s worth doing either way.”
Regular house garbage is also a bear attractant, and residents are encouraged to keep their garbage indoors until the morning of their pick up. “Waste Management does have ‘bear carts’ available for new customers in the residential service area outside of city limits,” says Lang. “Existing customers have the option to upgrade to a bear cart for a small monthly fee.”
Revelstoke Bear Aware urges residents to do their part to avoid habituated, aggressive garbage bears who may not go into hibernation. Revelstokians and bears share this beautiful area. Let’s help keep interactions to a minimum.