• Riley 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

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