Adopt separate wildlife attractant bylaws and improve enforcement to save coast bears!

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The Sunshine Coast Bear Alliance Society (SCBAS) and the following residents of the Sunshine Coast, petition the Town of Gibsons, the District of Sechelt, and the Sunshine Coast Regional District to adopt separate and enforceable wildlife attractant bylaws with a wildlife attractant fine schedule that has an increasing rate of fines according to the number of attractant offenses committed by an individual resident or by a commercial establishment.

Over just the past few months SCBAS has been receiving reports and witnessing an increased number of violations by residents in regards to food attractants that invite bears and other wildlife into neighborhoods putting animals at high risk of being food conditioned, which, in turn leads to them being trapped and destroyed by the Conservation Service. It also puts good law-abiding citizens at risk of encountering and possibly surprising our bears further increasing potential human-bear conflict.

There is an increasing concern among residents about the lack of enforcement from our local governments in this area which perpetuates the irresponsible behaviors that result in the undue suffering and continuous cycle of death for so many coast bears. Twenty-two of our coast bears were killed by the Conservation Service between April – October of last year due purely to attractant issues.

We have witnessed numerous examples of attractant issues as of late such as:

·      An Airbnb owner who doesn’t live onsite whose guests leave garbage in an accessible container subsequently attracting a bear to the area.

·      A neighbour who leaves their garbage in a plastic bag hanging on a hook outside their door just a few feet away from the ground.

·      A home owner who has a large bird feeder attached to a fence that they share with another neighbor such that a bear visits every evening.

All these are examples of what is happening in the “bear country” that is our coastal community. All of these events have been ongoing and no one is learning to change their behavior due to a lack of proper bylaws, fines and most importantly strict enforcement. These situations lead to the food conditioning of our bears which in turn leads to them being killed by the Conservation Service.

We are requesting the implementation of a meaningful enforcement process where a resident’s complaint about garbage or food attractants is addressed in a manner that helps give our bears and our residents a chance to co-exist safely with one another.  

It is for the safety of both our bears and our residents that we are petitioning the Town of Gibsons, the District of Sechelt, and the Sunshine Coast Regional District to implement these bylaws together with significant fines for offenses. 

The time for change is NOW.