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REPORTING · 14th November 2011
Randy Halyk
Question What would you do about Bears

Bears love the bottom of river valleys where they feed on the fish, the flora and fauna that inhabit this diverse eco system. Our Kitimat River estuary prime Bear habitat is at our doorstep. All this creates an opportunity for interactions between species, which is by the way why I love this area.

The fly in the ointment is we humans; we produce attractants (Garbage) that creates behaviours in animals that do not fit comfortably into our lifestyle. The standard practise is to blame the animals but truly it is us that are to blame.

We had a Bear Aware Group working on this but it broke apart when the chair person left and disbanded the group. My hope is to reform this group to continue the process of Bear Smart.

I have always supported a Bear Smart program in Kitimat and the Provincial government has a plan that can be adapted to our community the web site for the program is http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/bearsmart/

Through the Conservation Officer Service we have accomplished most of the tough part of becoming Bear Smart but there are still a few steps to finish. We must adjust the OCP (Official Community Plan) to incorporate Bear Smart into the plan and develop further the solid waste management plan. We have bylaws but must find some way to enforce them. I prefer education but stronger enforcement is also required.

Other measures are required to truly give me a good feeling about Bear Smart, I had the opportunity to talk with the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter people, and they have an interesting take on Bear Smart that needs to be taken into consideration.

All in all Kitimat must take Bear Smart seriously and implement a plan that works for us and the Bears as soon as possible.