Jul 11, 2017 Return to Headlines

Coquitlam Steps Up Bear Enforcement

by Robbin Whachell |

COQUITLAM, BC, July 11, 2017 – If you put your carts out at the curb too early or don’t secure your waste and other attractants against bears in Coquitlam, expect to get a $500 ticket.

That’s the message Coquitlam is sending its residents and businesses, on the heels of a community-wide audit of more than 25,000 properties that showed 17 per cent of homes were putting their garbage and green carts out at the curb the night before collection day.

So far this year, the City has issued 325 tickets of $500 (discounted if paid early) to households for not complying with the solid waste bylaw’s ban on setting out carts at the curb prior to 5:30 a.m. on collection day, or on not securing bear and wildlife attractants such as food scraps, ripe fruit and pet food.

Recognized as an official Bear Smart community, Coquitlam has conducted a dedicated bear education and enforcement program for 12 years. Yet even after a dozen years, the five-week audit from late April to early June found violations at properties across the City, including 200 with a known history of non-compliance.

Activities this year have included enhanced community education as well as increased monitoring and enforcement through the audit and ongoing patrols.

A new video unveiled this week and posted at www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart uses children and humour to show there are no excuses for following the simple rules to keep bears away, such as:

  • Keeping garbage and green carts securely stored at all times, except on collection day;
  • Separating waste and putting food scraps in the green cart, which is collected weekly, and not the garbage cart;
  • Making sure attractants including pet food, bird feeders and ripe fruit are not accessible to wildlife; and
  • Only putting out garbage and green carts after 5:30 a.m. on collection day – not the night before.

The City has also created new user-friendly education materials and is hosting a free Bear Smart 101 workshop on July 12 that is now fully booked with closed to 250 attendees expected. Other outreach has included targeted mailouts, social media posts, school programs, displays at community events, and information on the City website.

Residents with questions about the bylaw or about how to make their property and garbage less attractive to bears are encouraged to visit www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart or contact 604-927-3500 or urbanwildlife@coquitlam.ca.

Bear Activity in Coquitlam
Coquitlam continues to generate the highest call volume of bear sightings to the BC Conservation Officer Service of communities across the province, and this year is shaping up to be another record year for bear sightings. So far in 2017, the City has already received more than 600 service requests from residents calling with concerns about unsecure garbage and other related issues.

Throughout 2016, the City received a record 1,380 calls, a 154 per cent increase over the preceding four-year average.

Coquitlam residents are asked to report all bear incidents to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

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Media contact:
Steffanie Warriner
Manager Environmental Services