Bear specialists want fines for leaving trash and fruit out

Editor’s note: This story provides the background for the agenda for tonight’s committee of the whole meeting for Nelson city council.

The agenda, in PDF format, can be downloaded by following this link.

Watch the Nelson Post starting at 7 p.m. for a live blog of the meeting, giving up-to-date news of the presentations and discussion.

Tonight’s committee of the whole meetings looks to be a fairly quiet and quick one. There are five presentations scheduled for evening and one that could have the greatest impact on residents would be a bylaw that would allow the city to penalize residents who don’t clean up fruit and garbage that could attract bears.

That said, the committee of the whole is also a chance for residents to show up at the meeting and speak their mind about issues they feel are important to the community, so you never know who, or what, could come up.

Here’s what’s on the agenda:

3a) Glacier Gymnastics Club

Ian Wood will talk with council about the Glacier Gymnastics Club and the club’s desire to have a long-term lease for agreement for their space at the Civic Centre. The club wants the long-term lease so they can go to other funding sources for improvements they’d like to make in the space they’re using.

The club also wants some changes to their lease agreement including:

  • A 25-year lease. Up to now they’ve had three-year leases.
  • Rent set at $1,500 a month with allowances for per cent increases every three years. The documents provided by the club do not say what the Glacier Gymnastics Club pays for rent at the moment.
  • Take out the public use clause. This change isn’t explicitly explained, but it appears the club wants sole use of the space they’re using.

The club would also like the city to help with applications for grants to improve the facility and put in a safety pit.

According to the club’s documents, they have 679 participants in their full-time program and 410 in their casual program. The club has “more than doubled in the last five years” reads the presentation submitted to council.

3b) Nelson Disc Golf Society

A map showing the approximate location for the proposed disc golf course. Image source: City of Nelson agenda.

Continuing in the sports theme, the Nelson Disc Golf Society wants to put in a disc golf (aka frisbee golf) course in Nelson, above the Nelson Memorial Cemetery.

The 18-hole course would be roughly 150 feet (45 metres) from the cemetery and the proponents, Mike Moor and Chris Charlwood, don’t expect the course would interfere with the cemetery’s ambience. They have spoken with the cemetery’s groundskeeper and learned most services are held on weekdays in the late morning.

Most people would use the course in the afternoons, after work and on weekends.

The society, which counts roughly 40 members, wants to use 15 acres of wooded area for the course. Unlike a golf course, a disc golf course has plenty of trees and the society plans on enhancing recent work that created a fire guard around the city.

The society has not asked the city for money and expects to cover the roughly $15,000 course to be paid for by sponsors and donations. According to documents submitted to council, the society has $9,000 in pledges from individuals and businesses.

The society has included letters of support from the City of Cranbrook and City of Kamloops. Both municipalities found the disc golf course made use of land that wasn’t useful for a traditional park.

3c) Wildlife Attractant Bylaw

Joanne Siderius, programme director of Bear Aware, has approached the city about creating a bylaw to penalize people who don’t manage their wildlife attractants. She’s specifically concerned with fruit and garbage that attracts bears. Her letter to council comes with the support of Dan Maluta, chief of the Nelson Police Department, Len Butler, conservation officer, Garth Mowatt, from the Ministry of Environment, Rachel Holt and Matt Nuttal.

Photo source: liza31337, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Siderius also asks the city institute a clause that prohibits people from putting garbage on the curb from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

In Siderius’s letter to council, she writes the bylaw “would limit the amount of garbage available to bears and decrease the number of bears searching for food near homes.”

Along with the usual rogues gallery of black bears trolling through the city, Nelson had four grizzlies to contend with who were spotted throughout the city. (Click here for a Google Map showing some of the locations the bears were spotted)

Siderius includes a sample bylaw – from Kaslo – and writes that if the city were to adopt a similar law it would bring Nelson in line with other B.C. communities.

Kaslo’s bylaw, as presented by Siderius, does not specify the potential fines, other than to reference the maximum penalties under the Community Charter and Offence Act. A search through those two acts didn’t turn up anything conclusive in the way of what kinds of fines would come into effect. Hopefully Siderius will clear this question.

Along with the bylaw, Siderius has asked council to form a Human-Bear Conflicts Solutions Committee to try and reduce bear-human conflict in Nelson.

3d) Nelson Hydro Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan update

Alex Love, general manager of Nelson Hydro, and Fiona Galbraith, also from Nelson Hydro, will tell council about Nelson Hydro’s progress on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Love’s report, the Nelson-owned utility has completed (or is close to completing) 50 per cent of its projects towards reducing its emissions. The report further says their remaining focus will be on lighting projects and boiler upgrades, including one for the city-owned Civic Centre.

This work has earned the City of Nelson recognition in the Partners for Climate Protection for meeting the first three milestones of five.

Those milestones are:

  1. Create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and forecast (check)
  2. Set an emissions reduction target (check)
  3. Develop a local action plan (check)
  4. Implement the local action plan
  5. Monitor progress and report the results.

Nelson Hydro has put some projects on hold.

Work on the old museum building was halted until the status of the building has been determined. What the questions are regarding the building are unclear from the Nelson Hydro report.

Plans to upgrade the lighting on the tennis courts were put on hold due to the high cost of the upgrades.

3e) Downtown electrical upgrade

Alex Love will stay before council to talk about progress on upgrades to the downtown power grid. There were no associated documents with this item on the agenda.

This summer the city started a $2 million upgrade to the electrical grid, a plan that will change out the system of power poles in the lanes that bracket Baker Street and install new transformer boxes throughout the downtown.

Nelson Hydro says the improvements should mean fewer power outages downtown and more power available as well.


One thought on “Bear specialists want fines for leaving trash and fruit out

  1. Pingback: Gymnasts and frisbees and bears, oh my! | The Nelson Post

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