Dozens of Port Coquitlam residents have been slapped with $500 fines as the city cracks down on those who leave their waste containers unlocked.
The enforcement blitz comes as two bears have already been killed this spring due to habituation to unnatural foods.
Since April 1, the City of Port Coquitlam has collected $15,100 from 33 solid waste bylaw tickets, according to Dominic Long, director of community safety and corporate services.
He tells the Tri-City News that while complaints about bears are coming from all over the city, bylaw officers are focusing on neighbourhoods in the north of the city where bear activity is highest.
Bylaw officers have also handed out 128 warning letters, Long adds.
Northside has the most bear issues
Port Coquitlam has been identified as having the most bear complaints compared to Coquitlam and Port Moody, according to the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS).
The increase in bear activity is related to the availability of food scraps and other attractants.
The neighbourhoods where bears are most frequently seen are around Prairie Avenue and Sun Valley, according to Long.
The local streets are close to forests, green belts and rural areas where bears frequent after making their way out of the mountains in search of high-calorie food.
"We continue to remind residents to lock it right or store it away," Long advises.
Port Coquitlam has several bylaws to curb residents and businesses from leaving waste carts and dumpsters unlocked.
In most cases, the fines are $500 after city officials increased the fees in 2020.
More information can be found on the bears page of the City of Port Coquitlam's website.
Clear link between unsecured attractants and bear deaths
Meanwhile, BCCOS members are keeping busy dealing with bear conflicts, including 125 calls from Port Coquitlam residents.
On May 23, a bear was tranquilized from a tree at the Shaughnessy Square, close to the busy Shaughnessy St. and Lougheed Highway intersection.
It was later destroyed after information revealed it was a conflict bear.
A second bear was destroyed in Port Coquitlam on June 7, it was also a conflict bear, BCCOS Sgt. Todd Hunter told the Tri-City News.
Sgt. Hunter believes Tri-Cities residents "have to do more" as homeowners and businesses are attracting bears by leaving food waste carts and dumpster bins unsecured.
"Just locking the green bin is not enough," he says, while encouraging everyone to follow WildSafeBC safe yard tips.
"We have to do as much as we can."
Two bears destroyed for getting into Port Coquitlam garbage https://t.co/CxCL6H9pRP— Tri-City News (@TriCityNews) June 14, 2022