The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is asking residents to do their part in keeping neighbourhoods safe by keeping trash covered and locked up.
This comes after conservation officers received several reports of bear sightings in neighbourhoods in South East Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland. RDCO waste reduction facilitator Rae Stewart said this means residents must be extra vigilant.
“This is the time of year bears amp up their foraging to build fat stores for winter denning. The best advice if you live in an area susceptible to wildlife is to reduce your risk of conflict. Take responsibility for your trash,” Stewart said.
This means securing trash and only putting garbage out the day of pickup, not the night before.
“Bears in particular, but other animals as well, have a keen sense of smell. The idea is not to attract them to your garbage unnecessarily.”
“If they have access to your water, not only can they make a real mess, but they can become food-conditioned. Then they pose a risk to you and your family, your neighbours and themselves.”
The RDCO, in partnership with waste contractor E360s, is now in phase two of a pilot project testing automated bear-resistant garbage carts. Those carts will be placed in select neighbourhoods in the fall.
Some tips for keeping the neighbourhood and the bears safe include:
- Putting out garbage on pickup day instead of the night before
- Secure garbage – store it in indoors or in a bear-resistant location
- Consider freezing kitchen waste until collection day
- Manage fruit trees
- Maintain compost so it doesn’t smell
- Use birdbaths and birdhouses instead of bird feeders