Mountain News: 

Banff hospital hopes to explore ‘wellness’

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But Bear 66 is no more. She was killed recently by a train on the Canadian-Pacific tracks as she grazed in an area thick with berry bushes. It was the fourth bear to be killed by trains in the Banff-Canmore area during the last five years.

Newspapers there report that the bear’s death, at a time when biologists think the grizzly population is endangered, caused local shock and provoked questions about responsibility. Bruce Pissot, the executive director of Defenders of Wildlife Canada, proposed that Canadian Pacific Rail trains slow down or that advance cars be dispatched to fire rubber bullet to scare bears.

"These could be crazy ideas but clearly the ideas that Canadian Pacific Railway are using right now are inadequate and it’s clear Parks Canada’s methods of addressing human-caused grizzly bear deaths are inadequate," Pissot said.

"I think shrugging our shoulders and saying, ‘well, this is inevitable,’ is nonsense and is a dereliction of responsibility that borders on criminal," he said.

The CPR already takes what some would say are extraordinary measures to reduce the number of bears killed by passing trains. For example, the railway has sent out a vacuuming operation, to remove grain spilled onto the tracks, thus reducing an attraction for bears. Also, fences may be erected along the railroad tracks near Lake Louise, an area of frequent bear activity.

Moreover, Canadian Pacific spokesman Ed Greenberg pointed out that the railroad’s footprint in the Bow River Valley has changed little in the last 100 years, while the surrounding community has. "This is a bigger issue, not just a railway issue," he said. "It’s the entire growth of human activity in that area."

Water worries

INVEREMRE, B.C. — Adequacy of Invermere’s water supply to accommodate additional development is being examined. Administrators have been pushing for a cap on development to ensure water supplies are not taxed beyond their ability to deliver. At issue, explains the Invermere Valley Echo, is the ability of three major developers — Octagon Properties, Grizzly Ridge Properties, and Pointe of View — to get water for new projects.

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