People who don’t help keep bears out of garbage containers are now facing fines in one Port Hardy condo complex.

People who don’t help keep bears out of garbage containers are now facing fines in one Port Hardy condo complex.

Complex closing the lid on bear scofflaws

The scourge of wildlife raids on garbage has driven a Port Hardy strata council to adopt drastic measures.

The scourge of wildlife raids on garbage has driven a Port Hardy strata council to adopt drastic measures.

The measures aren’t directed against the offending animals, but toward sloppy Seawind residents who are disposing of their waste improperly.

“We’ve put out notices to the residents,” said Seawind managing agent Ron Reynolds.

The notice states all garbage must be placed in tied bags inside a bin that must be latched, and all cardboard must be placed in the designated receptacle.

The bins at the condo complex are metal and have a hooking latch system meant to keep bears and other garbage-scrounging animals out.

The regulations are enforced by a fine levied by the strata council and conservation officers for those who fail to follow the rules.

While the B.C. government is looking at changes to the  Wildlife Act that would levy a $230 fine against those who fail to follow proper waste disposal procedures, the strata council fine can be anywhere from $50 to $200, said Seawind Estates assistant property manager Heidi Richter, who noted bears breaking into garbage has been of particular concern lately.

“There were residents not tying up their bags,” she said.

Some residents were non-compliant with strata council standards, she added.

First time offenders may be given a warning, but the council could decide to impose fines immediately, said Richter.

Residents contacted by the Gazette at Seawind Estates were supportive of the new policy.

“I think it’s a good idea because they’re still going to try at the garbage, but there’s not going to be a mess to clean up,” said resident Heather Wiggins.

Opinions on the fine were mixed, but it appears the threat of losing hard-earned cash is getting results.

“I guess the fine is useful, latches are secure now,” said Seawind resident Anne Scott.