November 13, 2015 - 2:37 PM
WEST KELOWNA - Increasing bear conflicts on the fringes of West Kelowna has convinced the city to sign on with WildSafe B.C. to provide a seasonal bear awareness worker.
The city will pay as much as $8,350 next year - depending if other partners sign on - for a medium level service contract with the B.C. Conservation Foundation.
That level of service will see one field coordinator provding 600 hours of work, usually from the end of May through to November.
The coordinator will be responsible for conducting educational events and raising awareness of animal conflicts in the host communities through social media and other methods.
While the coordinator will educated in all forms of animal conflicts, the surge in bear conflicts in West Kelowna this summer means bears will be the priority.
The coordinator will also work with the conservation officers of the B.C. Conservation Service as well as bylaw officers and municipal staff.
According to WildSafe B.C., public calls to the RAPP line about bears in West Kelowna went up 50 per cent from 151 in 2013-14 to 227 in 2014-15.
Calls so far this year already sit at 222 with four months remaining to count and West Kelowna has already reported more bear conflicts to the hotline than Kelowna.
Staff have recommended West Kelowna partner with Peachland, Westbank First Nation and Central Okanagan Regional District on the program but councillors agreed they didn’t want West Kelowna’s participation contingent on the other governments.
The B.C. Convservation Foundation says it has over 30 WildSafe B.C. programs in various communities.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015