The Conservation Officer Service is urging people not to set out their garbage before collection day. Recently, eight violation tickets were issued in the Deer Ridge area of Summerland. (File photo) (Contributed)

Tickets issued for garbage violations in Summerland

Conservation officers concerned about behaviour attracting bears to residential areas

Conservation officers are continuing to remind residents not to put out their garbage until collection day.

Sgt. James Zucchelli of the South Okanagan Zone Conservation Officer Service said conservation officers recently issued tickets to eight residents in the Deer Ridge area of Summerland after garbage was set out early.

Zucchelli said those who set out their garbage too early are providing an easy food source for bears.

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“Unsecured bear attractants are creating public safety and officer safety threats,” he said. “We’ve been saying this for years.”

Garbage, bird seed and compost all provide easy food sources for bears, Zucchelli explained. When bears become used to these food sources, they also lose their fear of people.

Zucchelli hopes the violation tickets, at $345 each, help to deter people from setting out their garbage too early. But he said conservation officers do not want to spend their time simply issuing tickets.

“We don’t want to go door to door being the garbage police,” he said.

“We want to have the people managing their attractants so they are not creating this public safety threat.”

He explained that once a bear becomes accustomed to garbage as a food source, the bear will have to be destroyed.

While some jurisdictions have attempted to relocate problem bears, Zucchelli said a bear with a taste for garbage will make great efforts to seek out a new garbage source. In addition, relocated bears are often attacked by other bears in the areas where they are taken.

While the tickets at the end of April were issued in the Deer Ridge area, Zucchelli said the problem of garbage set out too early is happening throughout the community and throughout the South Okanagan.

Those observing wildlife conflicts are asked to call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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