Re. "Bear sightings increase in 2010, says PoCo report" (The Tri-City News, Jan. 25).
"Public education campaigns encouraging homeowners to secure their garbage were not enough to keep the number of bear sightings down in the city of Port Coquitlam last year." In the article, this statement was attributed to Dan Scoones, manager of bylaw services in Port Coquitlam.
To the best of my knowledge, the "public education campaigns" to which Mr. Scoones refers consists of ads that were in the two local newspapers. In my opinion, this does not amount to education but, rather, a single aspect of responsible waste management
As far as any active education program regarding the many other facets of bears - their habits, their nature and why they do what they do - it is simply nowhere to be found in Port Coquitlam. In fact, Port Coquitlam only retained the services of a Bear Aware co-ordinator for less than a full season in 2009 and those services were not renewed going forward.
Bear Aware education works in and with the community, has a media plan, builds a volunteer network, involves presentations and displays as well as children's programs and door-to-door visits. There is only one of the three Tri-Cities that has an ongoing, effective and consistent bear education program happening and that is Coquitlam. That city council seems to have realized the need and importance of educating the public and has had an active program for more than five years.
Living in the Tri-Cities, it is prudent and necessary to have an active and effective bear-education program year round. When are all of the local councils finally going to realize this?
If this does not happen, we are doomed to have history repeat itself and end up with another year like 2008, or worse, at some future time.
Philip Warburton, Port Coquitlam