Fur raised over cost of bear-proof bins

Cost of bear bins raises issue of public access at Old Town Bay.

The cost of installing two bear-proof containers for Old Town Bay: approximately $5,000.

The cost of people-proofing Old Town Bay: still to be determined.

In August, District of Sicamous council directed staff to look into the cost of replacing two waste bins in Old Town with bear-proof bins. This was after Coun. Gord Bushell noted how bears have been seen frequenting the well-used bins.

In addition, council asked staff to look into the cost and feasibility of re-installing a gate at the entrance to Old Town Bay to control traffic going in. This was in response to concerns raised by Coun. Todd Kyllo, who was critical of the way the foreshore was being used as a boat launch/campsite/houseboat moorage.

Regarding the bear-proof bins, staff received a quote that puts the bins at $1,960 a piece. Staff time for installation would be another $500 per bin.

During the Sept. 9 council meeting, Mayor Terry Rysz suggested, and council agreed, that this purchase be discussed during upcoming budget deliberations. Though Coun. Colleen Anderson questioned the need, given who was believed to have been filling the bins over the summer.

“Who is taking their garbage there? Those folks that are partying there, correct? The people that are squatting there. And those are the folks that are requesting a safer environment for them to camp at or party at,” said Anderson. “They shouldn’t be there, so why is the district spending money on bear-proofing garbage cans when these folks shouldn’t be there to start with? I think it’s crazy.”

In response, Bushell explained the bears are ripping the lids off the existing containers, and stressed the need for bear-proof replacements.

“We do need bear-proof containers but I don’t know what the answer is – try to get the houseboats out of there would be one thing,” said Bushell.

Coun. Jeff Mallmes said people should be able to access Old Town, but suggested access be restricted to private properties – something Kyllo said may be happening.

“There’s no boat ramp there, there’s 25 boat vehicles there with trailers driving over the foreshore, which is totally against the law. So there’s issues out there besides just a gate stopping the public going there…,” commented Kyllo during question period. “I don’t think the road is going to get shut down, but there’s going to be areas shut down where there will be no access to the public like there is now.”