Coquitlam is enforcing the ban effective immediately — and only on a temporary basis — as a result of a recent increase in bear sightings near the Burke Mountain parks.
City environment manager Caresse Selk said more bears have been spotted in the neighbourhoods by local residents, including some reportedly trying to access garbage, coolers and picnics.
"While the city has been collecting garbage more frequently, it has not been a deterrent for these determined bears," she said in a release today (Aug. 15) about the ban.
"The city is asking all park users and visitors to the areas along the Coquitlam River to not bring food into the area and to pack out any garbage that they pack in."
Selk added more bylaw patrols are being deployed to Burke Mountain to enforce and educate the new rules.
Signs have also been posted in all three parks advising local residents and visitors about the change.
@tricitynews Bears, bears, bears. 🐻⚠️ #tricitynews #coquitlam #portcoquitlam #bear #bears #bearsoftiktok #bearsighting ♬ News Report Serious VTR(1406117) - howlingindicator
Bear encounter update
There have been 26 known bear encounters in Coquitlam in August, as of 12 p.m. today (Aug. 15), according to WildSafeBC's Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP).
The organization also encourages residents to consider the following tips around bears:
- Keep your garbage in or secured somewhere not accessible to wildlife until the day of collection
- In Coquitlam, homeowners should only place at the curb after 5:30 a.m. on pick-up day
- Keep carts and bins odour-free by freezing smelly garbage and food waste until collection day and regularly cleaning them
- Manage your fruit trees
- Don’t let windfalls accumulate, and pick fruit as it ripens
- If you don’t want the fruit, consider...
- Accessing a fruit gleaning group in your community
- Washing the blossoms off in the spring so the fruit doesn’t set
- Replacing the tree with a non-fruit bearing variety
- Don’t put out bird feeders when bears are active
- A kilo of bird seed has approximately 8,000 calories and is a great reward for a hungry bear
- Keep your compost working properly with lots of brown materials and a regular schedule of turning
- If you have livestock or backyard chickens use a properly installed and maintained electric fence to keep bears and livestock apart
The public is being reminded to also check your surroundings when out in the back country as bears are known to hang out in trees.
Coquitlam residents or visitors who see wildlife getting into garbage or finding loose attractants are strongly encouraged to report it to the city, Selk said.
If you see a wildlife conflict that could threaten public safety or cause property damage, you're asked to call the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) at 1-877-952-7277.
For more bear smart information, you can visit the City of Coquitlam's website.