Bear Smart Committee - a history
Between 1999 and 2001 numerous bears became neighbourhood problems in the Lions Bay area and were destroyed. Concerned residents and the Village combined efforts to reduce bear/human conflicts and no bears have been killed locally since. The Village of Lions Bay is very proactive about bear management and in 2007 appointed a Bear Smart Committee that currently includes a Councilor, a Village Municipal Coordinator, longtime volunteer members and a Conservation Service Officer. Bear Smart grants combined with Village contributions created a Bear Hazard Assessment in 2005 and the Human/Bear Conflict Management Plan in 2010. The Ministry of Environment awarded Bear Smart Community status to Lions Bay in 2011 and a commemorative bear statue stands at the entrance to the shopping plaza.
Current bear management practices focus on communication and education. There are campaigns to alert residents about bears, including Town Hall safety events, a Bear Watch bear activity network and an effective bear signage system. There are adult and children education programs about attractants and how to deal with bear encounters that teach residents how to safely co-exist with bears. Lions Bay’s Waste Management Bylaw prohibits residents from placing garbage/recycling curbside before five a.m. on pickup morning, and from allowing wildlife access to any outside stored food sources. Bear Smart is an important component in determining waste management solutions. All public garbage bins are bear-proof, there is a central bear-proof public dumpster and the Village subsidizes bear-resistant bin purchases for residents with garbage storage challenges.
The Village of Lions Bay continues to work so that bears move naturally through the community without alteration to their natural behavior or eating habits, and that no negative human/bear encounters occur.