By Steve Hubrecht

[email protected]

Last week the first dusting of snow arrived in Invermere, but the Pioneer still received a few reports of bears roaming the district. 

This fall has been a busy one for bears in town, and earlier in the autumn, conservation officers outlined that one of the biggest problems is people simply not realizing that the garbage bins provided by the district of curbside household garbage collection, are not at all bear proof.

This applies to some local residents, but also frequently to visitors staying in the large and growing number of short term rentals (STRs) in the District of Invermere (DOI). Guests of these operations usually come for the weekend, and many times leave their trash out on the curb when they leave late Sunday afternoon — well before pickup, which, depending on the part of Invermere you live in, is either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning.

The district hopes to curb this problem with its new STR bylaw, which it has been working on for more than a year, and which Invermere mayor, Al Miller, recently told the Pioneer will include parts specifically directed at STR operators and owners.

“The owners and managers are going to have to be living nearby in the new bylaw, and they have to be able to be contacted at all times, very easily. So when it comes to garbage, they’re going to have to pay attention,” said Miller. “They can’t have garbage going out on a Sunday. Certainly that’s going to have be included in their instructions to guests… they will have to make it known.”

Miller explained that the whole thought process behind the STR bylaw is to make sure such businesses are managed properly. 

And if STR guests ignore instructions and put garbage out on a Sunday?

“The owners or operators are going to have to be available to help,” outlined Miller.