Bear Aware

While it may be exciting to have a bear wander into the yard, bears that become accustomed to accessing human food sources may pose a safety risk to children, pets, and livestock, which means they may need to be destroyed. Often, it’s the bear that ends up paying the price for garbage left out. 

To learn more about bears and other wildlife in our area, visit WildSafeBC's interactive Wildlife Alert Reporting Program map to see, report, or get alerts for wildlife sightings and human-wildlife conflicts. We all must do our part to keep wildlife wild and our communities safe.

The CVRD amended Curbside Collection Bylaw 1958 in 2019 to help reduce human/wildlife garbage-related conflicts in the Cowichan Valley. This bylaw places limits on what belongs in the garbage while setting clear expectations for how garbage totes should be stored.

A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear

Do your part to ensure that your curbside material does not become a wildlife attractant:

  1. Store waste in a wildlife-resistant manner on your property between collection days (examples below)
  2. Put totes out after 5:00 am on your curbside collection day (totes left out overnight may be subject to up to a $230 fine)
  3. Manage wildlife attractants (e.g. no grease, liquids, or wet garbage)
  4. Take excess waste to a nearby Recycling Centre

Tips for Wildlife-resistant Waste Storage

  • Store recycling and garbage in totes in an enclosed structure (e.g. garage or shed) until the morning of your curbside collection day.
  • If you do not have a shed or garage, leave clean totes outside and store smelly garbage in the freezer until collection day.
  • The use of bear-proof hardware can significantly decrease the chance of a bear accessing the contents in curbside totes. Bear-resistant hardware can be ordered from the CVRD for $60 by filling out the tote exchange form.

Please note that a bear-resistant tote will not be 100% bear-proof as seen in the video below. The only way to ensure that your garbage is secure is to place it in a structure so that the tote cannot be dragged away and opened.