On July 20, 2021, Council adopted a new Wildlife Bylaw 1294, with the goal of limiting conflicts between bears and humans in our community.
The new bylaw regulates attractants unrelated to refuse collection, including bird feeders, fruit and nut trees, composts, 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 1252-04 has been 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 also provides 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. See Bylaw 1125-12 Bylaw Notice Enforcement and schedule of related penalties here.
Development of Bylaw
Twenty-two bears were euthanized on the Sunshine Coast between April 2019 and January 2020, as the animals became habituated to grazing from garbage cans, fruit trees, and other attractants.
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.
On October 20, 2020, Council officially resolved that staff bring back a report on the delegation’s request.
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.
On July 13, 2021, staff reported to Council on comments received from the public on the proposed bylaw. In total, the Town received 49 comments, with 26 in full support of the bylaw as written. Of those who opposed the bylaw, 12 opposed the requirement to remove bird feeders during bear season. Accordingly, the bylaw was amended to include a requirement that any bird feeder be installed in a manner so that it is inaccessible to all wildlife other than birds, and that the area below the feeder be kept free of accumulated seeds or other attractants.
The bylaw received second and third reading on July 13, 2021 and was adopted on July 20, 2021.