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Photo taken when bear care blizted through Kitimat in June, 2008
COMMENTARY · 3rd October 2012
Walter McFarlane
If there is one thing I hate doing, as a reporter, it is watching a good idea which would benefit the community go nowhere. If I were to list my top five items which went nowhere, this one would be sitting at #5.

People have many good ideas and they put a lot of time and effort into them. Sometimes, they do not pan out. This idea can be attributed to Mayor Joanne Monaghan in 2008, when she was still a City Councillor.

The first meeting of the Bear Care Committee, in January, was well attended by the public. Then the numbers slowly started to dwindle. I agreed very strongly with the goal of the organization, to reduce the number of bears having to be destroyed by the Conservation Officers every year.

In April, the group presented to Council the idea of having bear proof garbage cans on every lot and changes to the garbage bylaw which would make it illegal to leave the cans out overnight.

The group started early in the year so an Education program could be completed in Kitimat by the time the bears were out. In June of the same year, the Conservation Officers and committee blitzed through the areas of town with the most bear problems.

By September, the Bear Care Committee had landed a $10,000 grant to do a study on bear behaviour in Kitimat. They were demanding the bylaw change in Council.

By the time the group finished its first year, things were looking up. Bear Proof Garbage bins had been recommended and the bylaw was created on September 29th. The bylaw made it illegal to put out garbage prior to four in the morning.

The group had its successes but things were about to go downhill.

In 2009, several things happened. First, the garbage cans which were recommended by the group turned out to be a hazard for the garbage collectors. The collectors had their own suggestions which they presented to Council. Little has come of it since.

The group has broken up, the reasoning relating to the court case between Monaghan, who was chairing the meeting, and the Conservation Officers. As for the bylaw, it never received teeth. While it had passed, it was never enforced.

It was recently brought to my attention the bylaw is not being enforced. People are still leaving their garbage out overnight and it is still attracting bears into Kitimat. There is nothing really further to say about this because Kitimat will continue to be bear habitat for many years to come…

…Unless we do something which was suggested by former Councillor Bob Corless: Use recycled material to build a wall around the town and keep the bears out.

The First meeting: (2008)

The presentation to Council: (2008)

The Bylaw is built: (2008)

The Bylaw is read three times: (2008)

The Bylaw not enforced (2009)
garbage bylaw
Comment by Anna on 7th October 2012
Is there any bylaws for garbage mismanagement? I look at the Municipality bylaws, and don t see anything for garbage by laws...who do people call when they see neighbours leaving garbage out too early, or mismanaging their garbage?