Wildlife Attractant Bylaw

Twenty-two bears were euthanized on the Sunshine Coast between April 2019 and January 2020, as bears became habituated to grazing from garbage cans, fruit trees, and other attractants. In response, Council is now in the process of developing a new wildlife attractant bylaw.

The proposed bylaw is a way to limit conflicts between bears and humans in our community, with the aim to reduce bears habituating to more urban areas.

On April 20, 2021, Council gave first reading to a new wildlife attractant bylaw, which adopts some “best practice” examples from similar bylaws from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, District of Squamish and City of Rossland. Read the related Staff Report here.

The new bylaw seeks to regulate attractants unrelated to refuse collection, such as bird feeders, fruit and nut trees, composting, barbecue equipment and tools, beehives, grease, refrigerators and freezers, chickens, home food delivery, and feeding wildlife.

Additionally, the Town’s Garbage and Organics Collection and Disposal Bylaw No. 1252-04 would be amended to include Schedule B, which provides clear direction for wildlife resistant commercial garbage containers and Schedule C, which provides clear wildlife resistant enclosure standards for commercial and multi-family properties.

The new bylaw would provide the Town’s Bylaw Enforcement Officer with the ability to fine people who consistently fail to take the steps required to eliminate wildlife attractants (i.e. removing food sources from easy access by bears and other animals), thereby putting wildlife at risk of being euthanized.

Share Your Opinion

Council would like to hear from the community on the proposed Wildlife Attractant bylaw before they proceed to second and third readings.

In addition to general comments, Councillors would like to receive feedback on “options for consideration”, including:

  1. Prohibiting the feeding of all wildlife, including deer, squirrels and raccoons (instead of simply prohibiting the feeding of bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves, as dictated the BC Wildlife Act)
  2. Prohibiting bird feeders during bear season (April 1 – November 30) OR from September 1 – November 30, when bears are actively seeking to “bulk up” before winter
  3. Prohibiting outdoor refrigerators, freezers, or storage containers which contain wildlife attractants.

To share your thoughts, please email: mayorandcouncil@gibsons.ca prior to end of day on Monday, May 24th.

Background

On October 6, 2020, a delegation from the Sunshine Coast Bear Alliance requested that Council consider the adoption of a separate Wildlife Attractant Bylaw, which would “provide residents, commercial establishments and visitors with the concise measures that need to be undertaken to prevent attracting bears and other wildlife into our urban areas.” The delegation also presented a petition to adopt a separate wildlife attractant bylaw and improve enforcement, which was signed by 518 people.

Read the full request from the Sunshine Coast Bear Alliance here.

On October 20, 2020, Council officially resolved that staff bring back a report on the delegation’s request.