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Kitimat is on its way to becoming a Bear Smart Community. At the Regular Meeting of Council on January 16th, Councillor Corrine Scott made a motion to continue the process.
“In September, last year, we had asked that the District of Kitimat continue the process of becoming a bear smart community, but it was questionable where we were at with in the process, so we asked Administration to provide a report of what was done over the last few years, which items needed to be completed,” said Scott.
The report provided to Council said they have completing the bear hazard assessment. The District has also partially completed their solid waste plan and bear smart bylaws. They still have to develop an education program on bears, prepare the Bear smart conflict management plan and revise the District’s documents to make them consistent with the Bear Smart Plan.
The motion would re-establish continuing the program and receiving the bear smart community recognition.
Councillor Mario Feldhoff agreed with continuing the program and many of them were well underway to being put into place. However, he wanted to further discuss the recommendations.
“There is some reference to selective removal of fruit bearing shrubs and if we go so far… as to where does that stop. A few trees on municipal property or will we be telling everyone to cut their mountain ash down and no more strawberries and no more apple trees,” said Feldhoff.
Councillor Phil Germuth wanted to know if the solid waste system mentioned in the report was Bear Proof Garbage Cans. Martin Gould, Director of Kitimat Leisure Services replied this was about refuse containers and the electrification of the dump. It also refers to a program to encourage business owners to make dumpsters bear smart.
However, Gould found there was a page missing from the report with a recommendation to bring forward the costs for the process. He said there was a recommendation to bring this back to budget. He added to become Bear Smart, it is a multi year project where the community has to prove to the Provincial Government they are Bear Smart and have worked over several years to complete. There also has to be sustainable funding for the project.
Scott made a motion to table the motion until they get a full report. The tabling motion was carried.