Hardy talks BearSmart designation

Port Hardy begins talks about becoming a BearSmart community

A District of Port Hardy councillor is calling for the community to continue on a path started by the previous council to become designated “Bear Smart”.

At their regular meeting Aug. 11, Councillor Dennis Dugas raised the issue of the suspension of Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant and orphaned bear cubs Jordan and Athena who are currently being cared for at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.

What led to the death of the sow and subsequent capture of the cubs is “really a people problem, not a bear problem,” said Dugas.

Dugas said there are only seven communities in British Columbia that have been designated “Bear Smart” and that if the district could work to obtain that status, that would be “something that we could really be proud of,” he said.

“Hopefully we as a council will support that in the future.”

“We have done some work in the past,” said Chief Administrative Officer Rick Davidge in an interview.

“There’s quite a number of Bear Smart garbage bins throughout the community. There is about 25 or 30 of them,” Davidge said.

“We also did some work on survey information in terms of where the hot spots were, if you will, for wildlife,” he said.

“Port Hardy does have a number of green belts, and, of course, drainages and waterways that wildlife can take advantage of, so that information was gathered as well.”

Davidge said one area they will focus on is education.

“We’ll be looking at budgeting for information brochures and other education opportunities for the future.”

The City of Port Alberni was designated a ‘Bear Smart Community’ in 2013 by the Ministry of Environment Conservation Officer Service, the first on Vancouver Island to receive this designation.

According to the Ministry of Environment every year hundreds, and in some years thousands of bears are destroyed as a result of conflicts with people. The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service spends more than $1 million every year responding to bear complaints and relocating or destroying bears. Property damage is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Most of these problems begin when people allow bears to access non-natural food sources such as garbage.

The Bear Smart Community Program, designed by the Ministry in partnership with the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) is a voluntary, preventative conservation measure that encourages communities, businesses and individuals to work together.

The goal is to reduce the risks to human safety and private property and the number of bears that have to be destroyed each year.

In order to become Bear Smart, a community is required to prepare a bear hazard assessment of the community and the surrounding area; prepare a bear/human conflict management plan; implement a continuing education program directed at all sectors of the community; develop and maintain a bear-proof municipal solid waste management system, and implement Bear Smart bylaws prohibiting the provision of food to bears through intent, neglect, or irresponsible management of attractants.

A bear hazard assessment includes identifying high-use bear habitat in the community and surrounding area such as travel corridors, natural food sources such as berry patches and salmon streams as well as breeding and denning areas. It also includes mapping non-natural attractants within the community such as garbage cans, orchards, dumpsters, etc. and mapping where conflicts have occurred in the past.

 

Just Posted

Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department appoints deputy chief

Port McNeill Fire Chief Dean Tait has appointed 10+ year firefighter veteran… Continue reading

Port McNeill in Focus: Childcare Availability Crisis a Good News/Bad News Story

On average, childcare across the country is unavailable, unaffordable, and the quality varies.

Notice of change of operator for Mount Waddington transit services

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) and BC Transit have received… Continue reading

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

SAR scaling back in Kilmer search, but friends will keep looking

Search for 41-year-old Cobble Hill dad hits six-day mark

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

Most Read