Be Bear Aware
The hillside communities in Chilliwack are prime habitat for the local black bear population. Bears have a keen sense of smell and are easily attracted to readily available food sources such as garbage and compost. Bears that fail to find a food source will often move on, however, bears that become highly food-conditioned and habituated to humans are often destroyed because of concerns for human safety.
Residents in these areas can do their part to minimize interactions with wildlife by managing attractants such as garbage, compost, and other food sources such as pet food and fruit trees.
- As a best practice in hillside areas, curbside materials should only be set out for collection after 5:00 am on the regular collection day and not the night before.
- If the City is informed of an issue with bears accessing curbside materials in a neighbourhood, all residents in the neighbourhood will be formally notified that curbside materials cannot be placed out until after 5:00am on their collection day (no materials out overnight). In these cases, mandatory requirements are imposed under the Solid Waste Management Bylaw to help resolve the problem and reduce the potential for serious bear-human conflict. This requirement is in line with the measures used by other municipalities with bear habitats.
- The affected residents will receive a letter in the mail and notification through the Curbside Collection App. Information stickers may also be placed on waste containers observed at the roadside overnight.
- Keep all containers securely stored inside a garage or another enclosed structure until collection day.
- Reduce odours by freezing smelly food waste and disposing of it on the day of collection.
- Rinse recycling materials to remove food residue. Even with rinsing mixed-recycling often contains traces of food residue and odours which may attract bears so it is important to secure these bins and only place them out on the regular collection day.
- Manage fruit trees and berry bushes by picking fruit as it ripens and avoiding it collecting on the ground.
- Feed pets indoors and keep bowls and food containers inside.
- Bird feeders often become bear-feeders so please only feed birds during the winter months when bears are hibernating and natural bird food is limited.
- Keep your barbecue clean and free from odours by burning off the grill every time after use and cleaning out the grease traps.
For more tips, including what to do if you encounter a bear, visit wildsafebc.com.
If you see a bear accessing curbside materials or acting aggressively towards humans or pets, please call BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.