Garbage audits conducted

WildSafeBC is conducting garbage audits in Summerland in an effort to reduce the attractants for bears and other dangerous wildlife.

WildSafeBC is conducting garbage audits in Summerland in an effort to reduce the attractants for bears and other dangerous wildlife.

The audits will continue through October and November.

Zoe Kirk, WildSafeBC community coordinator for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, said the results so far are disappointing as many Summerlanders continue to put out their garbage the night before collection takes place.

“We humans have accidentally provided a feast for bears at this time of year,”Kirk said. “When we place garbage out to the curb early, filled with a bounty of pungent harvest type leftovers, bears gain access to our fast food refuse packets and are likely to return again and again.”

The garbage audits are being conducted by a retired conservation officer who is taking pictures of the garbage and recording the addresses where it has been set out early.

Bears have been a problem in populated parts of the community. Around a year ago, bears were observed on a property a couple of blocks from the downtown core.

Bears have also been observed near the lakeshore.

Kirk said a garbage bylaw, penalizing those who set out their garbage before their collection day, would help to reduce the number of bear incidents in Summerland.

Naramata adopted a garbage bylaw several years ago and the number of bear incidents in that community dropped significantly, Kirk said. In Summerland, the number of bears reported in the community has not shown any significant change.

In addition to changing their garbage habits, Summerlanders can reduce the number of bear incidents by taking other measures.

These include harvesting fruit and nuts as soon as possible and keeping bird feeders and suet cages in storage until December.