South Okanagan communities face new garbage collection rules

Okanagan Falls, Kaleden and West Bench residents being asked to take precautions to reduce chance of attracting bears

Eva Antonijevic points to the scratches from a bear that unsuccessfully tried to get into her garbage cart.

Eva Antonijevic points to the scratches from a bear that unsuccessfully tried to get into her garbage cart.

There are new rules for garbage collection in Okanagan Falls, Kaleden and West Bench. Residents in Electoral Area ‘D’ and ‘F’ that receive curbside garbage collection will need to take extra precautions if they place garbage out the night before.

Homeowners can choose from three different options to place out waste. These options are placing out waste on the morning of collection, using a wildlife-resistant garbage cart or placing a wildlife-resistant enclosure at the end of their driveway. Using these options, Naramata residents have seen a sharp decline in the number of bears killed each year in that community.

Over the last year Zoe Kirk, Bear Aware community co-ordinator, has conducted a series of nighttime tours in Area ‘D’ and ‘F’. On average over 80 per cent of residents place out waste safely on the day of collection. The remaining residents place out bags or cans at night, allowing bears and other animals to access their garbage.

“There is a well-established correlation between bear sightings and garbage days,” said Kirk. “Bears need an enormous amount of calories each day. Unprotected garbage is a quick and easy way for bears to get food.”

In 2011, Naramata became the first RDOS community to adopt wildlife safe garbage collection. Before 2011 an average of six bears per year were killed in Naramata. Since 2011 only one bear has been destroyed. Kirk has also seen less litter in Naramata streets as fewer animals are getting into garbage.

“Having people think about how and when garbage and recycling are placed out has made Naramata much safer and cleaner,” said Kirk.

This winter, BFI Canada is offering a two-month free trial of wildlife-resistant bear carts for Area ‘D’ and ‘F’ residents. These reinforced carts can be placed at the end of a person’s driveway and picked up and emptied by a special arm on all BFI garbage trucks. BFI also rents carts for recycling and yard waste which can help eliminate the need to purchase bags. Residents can contact the BFI Cart Hotline at 250-328-2778 for details.

Electoral Area ‘D’ covers the unincorporated communities of Okanagan Falls, Kaleden, Twin Lakes and Green Mountain Rd. In Electoral Area ‘F’ curbside collection is provided in West Bench, Sage Mesa and Red Wing. Letters have been sent out to home owners in these communities to better explain the changes.

For more information on curbside collection please contact the RDOS Solid Waste Department at 250-490-4129, toll free 1-877-610-3737 ext. 4129, email  info@rdos.bc.ca or visit  www.rdos.bc.ca.

 

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