The City of Prince George is looking to start a pilot project on bear-resistant garbage cans in the new year.

Sean LeBrun, Parks and Solid Waste Services manager, said about 300 homes would be part of the trial. A neighbourhood or area in the city, however, has not yet been determined for where the first set of bins would be.

“We have been working with the Northern Bear Awareness Society for close to 15 years, as well as the conservation officers, on ways that the City can get involved in developing and maintaining a bear-proof municipal solid waste management system,” LeBrun said.

So how are these bins different than the current garbage cans?

“They’re locked with a series of locks or clips and this cart stays locked, the only way it unlocks is when it’s being collected and the truck lifts it and turns it upside down, there is a mechanism in the lid that releases.”

One group excited to see this set into action is the Northern Bear Awareness Society. Residential household waste is the cause for over half of calls made to the conservation service, according to society President Dave Bakker, and is the largest attractant available for bears.

“If we start reducing the access to this major attractant, we’re going to see a substantial change in the reason calls are made,” he explained, adding there are challenges some residents face.

“Not everybody has the ability to put their garbage cans in the shed. If you look at the neighbourhoods that have been around for 30 or 40 years, those lots were built with car ports and a lot of people don’t have the need for a shed. It’s going to help a lot of residents that don’t have the ability to store their attractants.”

There is a substantial price difference between a bear-resistant bin ($235) and a regular bin ($70), which is part of the reason they are first being tested as a pilot project.

The pilot project is expected to begin in spring 2019.