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Becoming a Bear Smart community

British Columbia’s Bear Smart Community Program is a voluntary initiative aimed at encouraging communities to reduce the amount of conflict between people and bears by taking personal responsibility for change. For the City of Revelstoke to become a “Bear Smart” community it is necessary for individuals, the city, the regional district and the provincial government to work together to address bear attractants in the community. The program focuses on five criteria that communities must complete in order to achieve Bear Smart status. Each of the criteria is listed below with a description of work that has been completed.

Bear Smart Initiatives in Revelstoke

1. Prepare a bear hazard assessment of the community and surrounding area

In 2009, the Revelstoke Bear Aware Society with in-kind support from Parks Canada, completed a Bear Hazard Assessment and Bear Hazard Map for Revelstoke and surrounding area. They identified both non-natural and natural wildlife attractants, commonly used wildlife corridors and locations that may have an increased risk for bear encounters.

The Bear Hazard Map is updated every few years.

View the Bear Hazard Assessment and Management Plan (updated 2013) here.

View the 2005-2008 Bear Hazard Map here. (1.7 MB PDF file, June 2009)

View the 2009-2010 Bear Hazard Map here. (4.6 MB PDF file, July 2011)

View the 2005-2010 Garbage Bear Map here. (4.5 MB PDF file, July 2011)

View the 2009-2012 Bear Hazard Map here.  (3.2 MB PDF file)

2. Prepare a human-bear conflict management plan that is designed to address the bear hazards and land-use conflicts identified in the Bear Hazard Assessment

In 2009, a Human-Bear Conflict Management Plan was compiled for Revelstoke and the surrounding area.The document is updated regularly and the most recent update was in 2013.

The document lays out recommendations and actions that will mitigate each of the hazards that were identified in the Bear Hazard Assessment, including the group or groups required to carry out the action, a priority rating, costs, and timing required.

3. Revise planning and decision-making documents to be consistent with the human-bear conflict management plan

The Official Community Plan for the City of Revelstoke and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Mount Revelstoke National Park Management Plan, and the Mount Mackenzie Resort Master Plan all include “Bear Smart” practices consistent with our Human-Bear Conflict Management Plan. The Regional Solid Waste Management plan was completed and approved in May 2009 and also takes into account “Bear Smart” practices.

4. Develop and maintain a bear-proof municipal solid waste management system

The Revelstoke Bear Aware Community Coordinator participates in various City and Regional District committees related to solid waste management.

In the Human-Bear Management Plan for Revelstoke, a number of recommendations were made with regards to changing open, city-maintained garbage cans to bear-resistant bins. Some bins were put in place in 2009. In 2010, the City of Revelstoke purchased more bear-resistant bins and they were placed at City recreation sites.

Curbside garbage collection

In 2014 the City is assessing the options for a new curbside garbage collection system. The City’s Environmental Coordinator is developing several options for the new collection system, some of which have bear-proof elements. We are awaiting a decision as to which option council will choose.

Of use in designing the new system was the information gathered by the 2009 Bear Aware Pilot Project in Johnson Heights, a trailer park in Revelstoke. The Pilot Project found that using bear resistant garbage bins significantly reduced the human-bear conflict in the area. However, there were some issues with the type of locking mechanism on the chosen bins. A locking mechanism that is more resistant to Revelstoke’s regular freeze-thaw cycles is now under consideration for the new system options.

5. Implement “Bear Smart” bylaws prohibiting the provision of food to bears as a result of intent, neglect, or irresponsible management of attractants

A new Solid Waste and Recycling bylaw (#2006) has been created which now includes secure storage of garbage outside of collection day. The new bylaw also replaces the curbside restriction bylaw that was put in place in 1996.

A Chicken Bylaw is under development by the City at present and will allow the keeping of hens in some areas of the City. Bear Aware continues to monitor progress of the bylaw and lobby for strong bear awareness clauses, including livestock food storage options and electric fencing to protect livestock from bears.

The Community Coordinator is currently working with the City to create a Wildlife Attractant Bylaw that will address all non-natural attractants identified in the bear hazard assessment.

Both the chicken bylaw and the wildlife attractant bylaw are currently in the City administration office and are expected to go to City Council in 2014.

 

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