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  • Writer's pictureRiley Gettens

Update from last night's WildSafe discussion.

The takeaway from last night - the bear situation is up to us (the community) to manage.


We live in a wildlife corridor. We will always have bears, cougars, coyotes, etc. Our aim is to do everything we can as a community to ensure that wildlife does not veer off the corridor to hang out in our yards, in our parks.

Bears will not be relocated. Relocation means a bear will likely end up in another bear's territory. This is not good for smaller or younger bears; black bears will attack to protect their territory. The relocated bear will not know the new area to find a suitable den or enough food/water. Overall, biologists are not in support of relocation.

Conservation Officer Mike Stern (CO Stern) reported that their mandate is to keep bears alive. If a problem bear is reported, the CO will audit the property (and neighbours' properties) for attractants. COs will not take action against the bear until the property owners have done their part in removing attractants (garbage, fruit, dirty BBQs, bird feeders, dog food, etc.).

Some topics discussed last night:

  • What is the value of Greater West Bench completing the required assessments to become a designated Bear Aware community vs a community initiative?

  • WildSafe can provide some safety training (how to use bear spray, for example).

  • Welcome Wagon idea (via the community blog) for new neighbours to share local knowledge early.

  • Combing the goals of Bear Aware with FireSmart - both rely on property owners to take care of their properties to support the community.

  • Bulk purchase of bear proof garbage cans. Sourcing these cans is a challenge right now.

  • How do we support neighbours who need an extra hand?


At the end of the night, it was decided that a community committee to continue the conversation and provide direction is needed. We have excellent volunteers who sit on a Parks and Recreation Commission and a Planning Advisory Commission. This committee would be community-led and help determine which direction the community will go (similar to the FireSmart Committee).


In November, I will mail this information to the Greater West Bench with a request for committee volunteers and a few other Area "F" updates.


Please let me know if you are interested in volunteering on any of the Area "F" committees. rgettens@rdos.bc.ca

More information is to come with the letter in November.


Thank you.

Riley

3 commentaires


Alan Lloyd
14 oct. 2022

Hi , could not make the meeting, but I agree with the CO that we live in a forest interface area and bears are not the problem, humans are.

I have a suggestion for deterring bears that has worked on preserving the fruit on our small orchard, (yes, we are very diligent about picking up windfall and ripened fruit). This gadget is called the YARD DEFENDER, a motion activated sprinkler. We have a trail cam in our orchard, and we see bears and other marauding critters (deer, racoons etc.) constantly being "chased" away by the "orbit" yard defender. It also emits a rapid TICKING SOUND. Bears are smart critters and I have cam footage of one sidling along the fen…

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Judy Burton
Judy Burton
14 oct. 2022

I did attend the meeting and found the outcome frustrating and agree with Alex. The number of bears has increased and it’s time for some action by the CO before someone is hurt. We’ve lived in the area since the 1960’s and there was way more fruit then that wasn’t ravaged by an every expanding bear population. If the CO’s are too busy to attend, fix their website and actually manage the area, the provincial government needs to fund the department properly to do the work or contract it out to act be managed properly Instead of pointing fingers at residents. The comment/recommdation from the CO for a lady to change her laundry soap to deter the bears was laughable.…

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Alex Gardner
Alex Gardner
13 oct. 2022

Hi Riley, I wasn't able to attend this presentation, but it seems that it will be the same old approach with a repeat of the information from the CO. Lived here for over 30 years, never had this number of bears around and they continue to circulate thru our area almost nightly for the end of August, all of September and now a little less in October. Identified 4 groups of bears, two with cubs, one smaller yearling and a big black bear. I have warned numerous people and family groups in Mariposa park when I have seen bears in the area. We have a small vineyard and I lost about 50% of my crop to the bears and…

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