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Bear alliance urges SCRD to adopt wildlife attractant bylaw

Group asks SCRD to create new fines for infractions
Bear in Sechelt
On May 13, a bear was tranquilized by COS for accessing attractants in a dense part of Sechelt.

The Sunshine Coast Bear Alliance (SCBA) is urging the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to create a new wildlife attractant bylaw and fine schedule “to stop behaviour in its tracks.”

At the July 15 planning and community development meeting, Irina Fox and Diane Henley asked the SCRD board to consider following in the footsteps of the Town of Gibsons and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), both local governments who have a similar bylaw. 

The bylaw could cover attractants such as bird feeders, food-producing trees, compost, barbecue equipment, beehives, refrigerators and freezers, chickens and food delivery.

“It is for the safety of both residents and our bears that we make this request,” Henley’s letter to the SCRD board reads.

The group also asked the SCRD to require short-term rentals display signs to inform visitors about the consequences of intentionally or unintentionally feeding wildlife, an offence finable under the BC Wildlife Protection Act. 

Elphinstone director Donna McMahon said she would be interested in hearing more about the SLRD’s experience with their wildlife attractant bylaw, and acknowledged that the Sunshine Coast faces “bylaw challenges.” 

When West Howe Sound director Mark Hiltz asked how the SCBA works with the WildSafe coordinator and Conservation Officer Service, Henley said they liaison with the coordinator but have more volunteers. She added that the WildSafe coordinator is only active about half the year.

“One WildSafe coordinator for a couple of months a year is insufficient to deal with this,” McMahon said.