Bylaw officer Gary Burford was on hand at the Wednesday, October 25th Village of Radium Hot Springs council meeting to present a protective services update and to speak on the importance of taking precaution to prevent human-bear altercations.
The activity of three bears in the area was reported between September 11th and September 30th through Wildsafe BC and Report all Poachers and Polluters (RAPP).
“Springtime was very quiet for bears and the summer was very quiet and then there were three weeks when I was running my butt off to stay ahead of them. I noticed around the car show weekend that an awful lot of garbage was produced and it would sit in the bins, alongside the bins, and around the bins,” said Mr. Burford.
The influx of bears was attributed in part to the massive amount of garbage created by packed restaurants during that particular weekend with some additional garbage being dropped off, exacerbating the problem.
Mr. Burford went around to all the business owners to see if they could get the trash picked up and he reported that many of them were unwilling to absorb the extra expense of another pickup.
Once the garbage was finally cleared, the bear situation settled down according to the bylaw officer, who confirmed the destruction of one bear in the area that had become a concern.
“A good approach would be to talk to Southeast Disposal to send a message to all their clients that they’re offering an extra pick up during car show weekend,” said councillor and Horsethief Pub and Eatery owner Mike Gray, who stated that an extra pick up wasn’t a huge expense.
Mayor Clara Reinhardt inquired if it was an issue of awareness on behalf of the business community. Mr. Burford assured her that a member from Wildsafe BC and he himself went door knocking prior to the car show weekend to educate the community on bear safety protocol.
“There could be a two-tiered approach, one could be to work with local businesses to remind them it’s their responsibility because it brings bears to town and to work with waste management to see if they want to work up a deal,” said Ms. Reinhardt.