The city of Port Coquitlam handed out more than 12,000 waste cart locks this spring to residents whose garbage and green waste it picks up.
And at least one homeowner says the wildlife-resistant locks are doing their job.
Last week, Shawn Lam gave kudos to the municipality on social media for designing and delivering the straps that secure his green bin — the cart that holds yard clippings and kitchen waste. He posted a photo of his organics container that who teeth puncture marks from a bear the night before. But the bin remained sealed shut.
It was the third time in recent weeks a bruin had tried to get inside the cart for a snack, Lam said. "I have found it upside down or on its side but the bear never gets in," he wrote on Facebook.
Kristen Meersman, PoCo's director of engineering and operations, said city staff continue to monitor behaviour of bears and other wildlife as well as the effectiveness of the guards to see if more are needed.
At this point, no more are scheduled to be delivered.
In 2013, city staff conceived of and manufactured the locks for PoCo residents who have the 240 L and 360 L carts in what is considered "bear territory" — that includes homes north of Lougheed Highway and all those west of Shaughnessy Street on the south side of Lougheed Highway.
The clamping mechanism for the 240 l bins was certified by the BC Conservation Foundation and, in June, the city received the patents for the product.
Now, it's marketing its lock to other municipalities, regional districts and private business. So far, unlike Lam's green bin, the city hasn't received any bites, Meersman said.
Last year, conservation officers recorded 935 sightings of bears in Port Coquitlam. Still, the number of bear-related conflicts has been down this summer compared to past seasons.
Statistics released by the Ministry of Environment for April 1 to Aug. 18 for the Tri-Cities show that 856 human-wildlife conflict reports were made, 23 were attended by conservation officers and, from those, two bears were destroyed — one each in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam — while four were hazed.
Coquitlam and PoCo were the hot spots, at 504 and 220 complaints respectively, while Port Moody had 128 calls and only one was attended by a conservation officer.