Garbage is no longer allowed to be placed outside in Maple Ridge before 5 a.m. on pickup days.
The bylaw that permitted garbage to be set out after 10 p.m. has been amended with the new early morning setout time to deter wildlife.
Maple Ridge bylaws department along with WildSafeBC has started checking neighbourhoods for early garbage setouts and some residents have been warned.
Maple Ridge's WildSafeBC coordinator Daniel Mikolay said he thinks the warnings are working.
"The people we spoke with were very appreciative of the information," he said.
The old bylaw permitted garbage to be put out for pickup after 10 p.m. the night before collection.
The amended bylaw states garbage cannot be set out before 5 a.m. the morning of collection.
"The amended bylaw helps reduce human and wildlife conflict," said
Mikolay. "If we can eliminate attractants from our neighbourhoods like garbage, birdfeeders, and unpicked fruit, we can drastically reduce urban bear sightings. This is good for residents and bears."
Once bears are conditioned to eating garbage in residential areas, relocating them often proves unsuccessful.
The key is to remove the attractants before the bear becomes conditioned, Mikolay said.
"When a resident calls the conservation officer service reporting line (1-877-952-7277), the location is put on our W.A.R.P. map at wildsafebc.com," Mikolay said. "I use the map to find out what is attracting the bears to the area and work with residents to remove the attractants."
Early reporting of bears in the area will allow problems to be addressed before a bear becomes a threat to human safety, he added.
In the case of conflict between bears and humans, prevention is the only real way to keep everyone safe.
To learn more about how to reduce wildlife conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com.
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