bear bylaw 

By Loreth Beswetherick It will take until April 15, 2001 before a new municipal bylaw governing garbage disposal takes effect but when it does, the $75 fine for improper storage of trash will be boosted to $500. At least that is according to the final draft of the bylaw currently being reviewed by municipal solicitors. This was good news to the members of Whistler’s Black Bear Task Team but some, like RCMP Const. Joe Leeson, still feel the penalty could be stiffer, especially for delinquent businesses like restaurants. Co-chair of the Black Bear Task Team, Sylvia Dolson, made the announcement at the group’s monthly meeting held last week. She said the bylaw will likely come before council at its Aug. 23 meeting or in early September. Once approved, it will have a one-year implementation period before it becomes effective. This will give the task team time to ensure enough bear-proof garbage bins have been installed throughout the community, leaving no excuse for offenders. The bylaw will only apply for the period from April 15 through to Nov. 15 each year. This gives the mountains more freedom with their on-hill bins through the winter months. It will also be less onerous on organizers of winter events and festivals. The new regulations will give bylaw officers discretionary power to decide where bear proof containers should be mandatory. For example, they are not currently required on the second floor of the Marketplace buildings but if the area should become a problem, this can be changed in terms of the bylaw. Dolson said the RMOW has now applied to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to raise the fine to $500. This will allow the municipality to exact payment without taking offenders to court. She noted the new municipal bylaw will be bolstered by the new provincial legislation, announced last month, which makes it an offence to attract wildlife by leaving garbage out. Under the Wildlife Act, offenders can now face fines up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for a second offence, as well as a possible maximum prison sentence of one year. She said local conservation officers are pleased with the legislation. "It gives them the power to order offenders to clean up their attractants," said Dolson. "If they disobey, the CO’s can take them to court."

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