Bear shooting prompts calls for cleaner construction sites 

Only days after a young black bear was shot and killed on a construction site, the conservation officer returned to find a layer of food waste in a bin marked for drywall only.

The drywall bin is on the street next to the Four Seasons Hotel construction site on Blackcomb Way. It was there that a bear was destroyed on Thursday, Oct. 2.

"(PCL Construction) told me that it’s mostly workers on the site being sloppy with the food garbage and putting it in the wrong bin (as well as) people who take garbage from their house and throw it in the bin because it’s convenient," said local Conservation Officer Chris Doyle, who is investigating the situation.

"They assured me they’re doing everything they can to ensure that garbage gets disposed of properly."

But it only takes one small burger wrapper or a stray french fry to tempt a hungry black bear into trouble and it was likely food waste that lured this young black bear onto the site. He is the first black bear to be destroyed in Whistler this year and his death has prompted resident black bear researcher Michael Allen to call for more diligence with food waste on construction sites around town.

"The construction bins in Whistler are just horrendous right now," said Allen.

"That’s going to be one of Whistler’s main concerns for the future. If we’re going to go through the next five or six years developing for the Olympics with more residential and more commercial and recreational facility development, then they need to get a handle on construction bins."

Doyle said there has been an ongoing garbage issue at the Four Seasons site for a while, which has been attracting the bears to the area. He was not aware of the problem until last week.

Construction workers, arriving for work Oct. 2, discovered the 100-pound bear high on the scaffolding of the hotel, sleeping outside the seventh floor. Doyle was called in immediately to deal with the situation and the evacuation horn was blown signaling all 350 workers to get off the site.

Doyle was faced with a tough dilemma when he arrived on the scene. He was hesitant to tranquilize the bear because he didn’t want it to plummet to the ground from the scaffolding. So he felt the best option was to herd the bear back down the stairs and outside even if it would put stress on the animal who was only one or two years old.

"Our first idea was to get it out of the building and I knew it was a risk that we were taking to try and herd it out of the building because we were in a confined space and so was the bear," said Doyle.


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