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Bear aware: Securing your trash could become a municipal bylaw across the CRD

An unsecured garbage bins in seen in Langford’s Bear Mountain Community. An unsecured garbage bins in seen in Langford’s Bear Mountain Community.

After a family of bears moved into Bear Mountain in Langford, quite comfortably feeding on an abundance of unsecured household trash throughout the community, the City of Langford is now looking at making changes to its bylaws.

“We are hearing from residents and from non-profit societies as well that further action needs to be taken,” said Colby Harder, a Langford councillor.

On Thursday night, Harder presented a notice of motion to discuss bylaw changes when it comes to residents securing their garbage.

“Our approach with bylaw is to always take an education approach first,” said Harder.

Under the proposed municipal law, if education isn’t working the city will “look to increase those fines if this is a motion that is supported by council,” said the councillor.

That discussion will happen around the council table on May 21.

It all started in View Royal when a family of bears moved into a quiet neighbourhood.

“The mother bear had to be euthanized,” said Sid Tobias, the mayor of View Royal.

Her cubs were taken to an animal rehabilitation centre after becoming habituated to household garbage.

Neighbours mourning the loss of the bear approached View Royal council asking for action.

“Council took up, what can we do about this,” said Tobias.

The decision was made to create a pilot project, providing residents in bear prone areas with bear-proof bins.

Saanich is currently exploring a similar bylaw change and Sooke has already adopted an attractant management bylaw.

“I think in an ideal case our messaging would be the same, our policies would be the same and bylaw and enforcement would be the same,” said Tobias.

On Wednesday, the Capital Regional District board voted unanimously to take the lead. It will create new bylaw guidelines that would include education and enforcement that all municipalities in the Capital Region could choose to adopt when it comes to securing household compost and garbage.

“All of us at the Conservation Service are excited,” said Scott Norris, a sergeant with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

Norris says this regional approach is exactly what is needed.

“To then have everybody in sync saying the same thing, having the same message and the same law so it can be applied evenly across the board,” said Norris.

Norris says people need to understand that bears don’t respect municipal borders and may become habituated in one region, then migrate to another.

Norris says securing your trash is important and could soon become law in every municipality in the Capital Region. Top Stories

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