Central Okanagan bear-resistant garbage bins project wrapping up soon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Central Okanagan bear-resistant garbage bins project wrapping up soon

A black bear is seen in this undated WildSafeBC photo.
Image Credit: WildSaveBC
April 29, 2021 - 4:10 PM

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan is in its final stages of testing bear-resistant garbage cans and new options for residents could be available later this year.

Waste reduction coordinator Rae Stewart said the district's waste reduction office and waste contractor E360s are in the final phase of a pilot project. 

Bear-resistant garbage carts are being tested in select neighbourhoods throughout the region in rural collection sites from Lake Country, Joe Rich, Upper Mission, Southeast Kelowna and soon to be rolled out to select areas in Peachland. Depending on the results and how the carts perform for residents and stand up to bear activity, there could be new cart options for residents late this year, she said.

READ MORE: B.C. Wildlife Park warns residents of waking bears

With warmer spring weather, conservation officers are reporting bears are out earlier than normal, with many sightings in neighbourhoods throughout the Central Okanagan.

“That means it’s time to be extra vigilant. As always, when the bears come out of hibernation they’re hungry, and looking for food. The best advice if you live in an area susceptible to wildlife is reduce your risk of conflict, and take responsibility for your trash,” Stewart said in the press release.

The biggest takeaway from cart manufacturers and testing programs is no model or design is deemed is 100 percent bear proof, only bear resistant, Stewart said.

She asks residents to store waste and recycling inside a shed or garage and to only put out carts during the morning of the pickup.

In partnership with the regional district's waste reduction office, the WildSafeBC program is expanding from the Westside across the Central Okanagan, meaning it will provide all Central Okanagan residents with wildlife information to reduce human and wildlife conflicts, said Meg Bjordal, WildSafeBC Okanagan Westside coordinator.

The biggest cause of human-bear conflict in the Central Okanagan is garbage, Bjordal said.

Report human-wildlife conflicts and sightings of bears, cougars or coyotes in the community to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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