A pilot project set to help deter bears from getting into Prince George garbage bins is starting this month in a northern section of the city.
The Hart Highlands Croft neighbourhood is receiving close to 300 bear-resistant garbage carts to place outside their homes on collection days to test as the city claims the bins are very difficult for bears to open them if they’re attracted to the scent.
The project was first introduced in early December 2018.
Homeowners in specific areas of the region will receive the carts at no cost and must be out for the first collection day as early as 4 a.m. on Monday, April 15.
The carts themselves easy for local residents to open and for garbage collection trucks when picked up and turned over upside down.
"Bears spend half of their year eating as much as possible before hibernation, which can include eating garbage, fruit, or other available attractants if available," said City Strategic Parks Planner Laurie Kosec in a release. "Prince George has the highest number of bear sightings in BC, and an average of 35 local bears are destroyed every year as they usually cannot be successfully rehabilitated after they get used to seeking out garbage.”The residential streets receiving the bins are as follows:
- Cook Crescent
- Cottonwood Place
- Croft Road
- Dunbar Place
- Erickson Street
- Glade Road
- Hepting Road
- Ingala Drive
- Kim Place
- Lehman Street
- Monterery Road
- Oakridge Crescent
- Poplar Place
- Winslow Drive
- Winslow Place
As per city bylaws, the carts must be removed by 7 p.m. the same day, otherwise, residents could face a $100 fine.
Kosec adds if the project is deemed successful by city staff, the potential for expansion of these bear-resistant bins into other areas of Prince George where bears roam around frequently is possible.
"Bears are waking up early this year due to warmer temperatures and there is not much food available due to the snow cover. Garbage is a prime attractant for bears and carts should be kept in a location that is as inaccessible as possible to bears.”
Prince George worked with the Northern Bear Awareness Society and the BC Conservation Service to select the Hart Highlands Croft neighbourhood as the primary launch site of this project.
An update will be provided at this Monday’s (April 8) city council meeting a week before the pilot project begins.