Another bear destroyed in Revelstoke due to unsecured garbage

With 18 bears destroyed in Revelstoke this season, we look at what's being done to manage the problem for the future.

Unsecured garbage caused conservation officers to destroy another bear on Sept. 15. Photo: contributed

A problem bear has been euthanized in Revelstoke on Thursday, September 15, once again increasing the official number of bears destroyed in town this season, now totalling 18.

Golden-based conservation officer Dan Bartol said this bear had been getting into garbage at a residence along Highway 23 South and, if it was the same bear, was also causing issues by breaking into property and residences.

During Bartol’s recent visit to town, he met with City of Revelstoke staff to discuss ongoing action. He noted that while Johnson Heights has a centralized bear-proof bin, it is becoming redundant due to overfilling and residents placing excess rubbish outside.

A bear spotted around Revelstoke this week. Photo: Bear Aware
A bear spotted around Revelstoke this week. Photo: Bear Aware

Since the bear issue was raised last month, education campaigns partnered by the City of Revelstoke, Revelstoke’s Bear Aware and the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce have been implemented to increase awareness and better understanding of managing attractants such as garbage and fruit trees.

The city has one full-time commissionaire, a weekend officer and one full-time animal control officer. City of Revelstoke spokesperson Dawn Low said about 90 per cent of their time is being taken up enforcing the city’s garbage rules.

“Are we looking to increased things in the future? Yes of course we are,” Low said in response to a question about resources. “Nothing has come through just yet, it’s part of the budgeting process.”

Nine fines and six warnings for unsecured garbage this month have been issued to Revelstoke residents. Although enforcement officers are taking a zero tolerance approach, there are over 60 files open. The local RCMP have also been issuing fines for unsecured garbage.

“We are finding more compliance and people are definitely making a concerted effort to secure their garbage,” Low said. “It seems the community has started to police itself which is good.”

A proposed wildlife attractant bylaw, which is yet to come to city council, is anticipated to give the city more tools to police the issue with potential fines for non-managed fruit attractants, if it is approved by council.

The city is also pushing for a Revelstoke-based conservation officer.

While there seems to be no move towards installing bear-proof bins city-wide, any new developments, such as the Mackenzie Village housing development on Nichol Road, are required to have a centralized enclosed garbage area.

Read previous stories on this issue in the Revelstoke Mountaineer’s gallery of articles.