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Conservation, Bylaw, and RCMP preparing for another busy bear year in Prince George

The City of Prince George is urging residents to be prepared as bear season is set to start in Prince George.

Starting this month, City Bylaw staff will be handing out tickets for those who are not following bylaws in regards to garbage bin placement and animal attractants.

“Somebody should call bylaw if they notice that somebody in their neighbourhood is not following the garbage bylaw, or not following the property maintenance bylaw,” said Manager of Bylaw Services Charlotte Peters.

“For example, if they have a bird feeder or a fruit tree that has fruit laying around the bottom or fruit that hasn’t been picked, because those are things that are going to attract bears.”

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Residents are reminded of these additional bylaws to help minimize interactions with bears:

  • Bringing carts to the curb no earlier than 4 am on collection day (and as close to 8 am as possible).
  • Do not overstuff garbage carts. The lid must be able to close. Additional carts or a bigger cart can be ordered by calling 311.
  • Lock garbage carts in a garage or shed where possible.
  • Secure garbage cart using straps.
  • Clean garbage carts regularly with bleach.
  • Remove ripe fruit and vegetables from trees and gardens.
  • Clean outdoor barbecues and grease traps regularly.
  • Feed pets indoors and remove bird feeders from reach.
  • Rinse out all recycling materials.
  • Freeze especially smelly garbage until collection day.

Last year, 170 tickets were issued in relation to bear related complaints, the year before, no tickets were issued.

These fines can be issued to the owner, renter, or guest in the case of a short-term rental.

Fines are as follows:

  • Attract Dangerous Wildlife – $300
  • Feed Dangerous Wildlife – $300
  • Attract Wildlife with Birdfeeder – $300
  • Attract Wildlife with Fruit – $300
  • All fines under the Garbage Regulation – $100

“From our perspective, we don’t have a bear problem, we have a people problem,” Peters said.

“We’re not going to change the behavior of the bears, because bears are always going to look for food, we need to change the behavior of the people who are providing those food attractants. The bylaws are sometimes perceived as being inconvenient, but a little bit of inconvenience is better than increasing a bear problem each and every year.”

Sgt. Eamon MacArthur says they’re preparing for another year of high numbers of calls, to be on the safe side.

“2024 has been pretty light, but we’re only just getting into the warming trends,” he said.

“We’ve had some calls, but not many.”

2023 was an unprecedented year for bears in the Northern Capital, as Conservation Officers received thousands of calls for service last year.

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“With everybody’s numbers increasing astronomically, response to every call will probably have a bit of delay, unless there is imminent threat to human safety,” said Cpl. Jennifer Cooper of the Prince George RCMP.

Cooper adds the RCMP will only attend a bear call if there is imminent threat to public safety.

“If someone is being chased or if a bear is trying to get into someone’s home,” Cooper said.

“A bear wandering through an area or eating garbage or seen sitting eating some apples under someone’s tree is not a reason to call RCMP, that would be a conservation phone call to see what services they can support the public.”

“Much like it’s a joint effort between Bylaw, Conservation and RCMP, it’s a joint effort that the city is a part of as well,”

“Every resident needs to be responsible with their garbage and attractants, we all have the same goal.”

  • To report a bear conflict, aggressive bear behaviour or a bear in an urban area, call the COS Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
  • People can call 911 if they believe bear behaviour is indicating it is an immediate threat (ie chasing someone or trying to get into a house).
  • If you notice someone in your neighborhood is not following a wildlife attractant-related bylaw, such as garbage cans being put out too early, please call the City of Prince George Bylaw at 1-250-561-7622 or [email protected]
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