Calgary’s focus on attractants will help wildlife and residents

A picture of a black bear
A black bear (Ursus americanus) stands at the edge of a forest in Alberta.
Photo by Donna Feledichuk / Getty Images

The City of Calgary will consider upgrading their waste management regulations this September, following recommendations from a committee formed to reduce negative encounters with wildlife.

The Calgary Journal reports that a community association was formed in 2022 following the killing of a black bear and her three cubs in the Discovery Ridge neighbourhood. The proposed amendments, presented at a July 27 meeting, would impact the city’s waste bylaw, and allow Waste and Recycling Services to create temporary “wildlife affected areas” on an as-needed basis, based on reports on how wildlife interacts with waste. Residents in a “wildlife affected area” would be required to:

  • Make sure that residential waste carts and extra waste be set out no earlier than 5 am on collection day;
  • Make sure that residential waste carts be put away no later than 7 pm on collection day; and,
  • Make sure that residential waste carts and extra waste be stored in a garage, shed, or other secured enclosures.

Proposed penalties range from $250 to $1,000, the Journal reports.

The Fur-Bearers supports municipalities utilizing bylaws to affect resident behaviour and prevent negative encounters with wildlife. While this bylaw amendment is limited in scope, it is a significant step forward in addressing the root cause of negative encounters, and removing blame from wildlife.

Comments from Calgary Ward 6 Councillor Richard Pootmans are noteworthy, for calling out oft-problematic language in discussions about wildlife. According to the Journal, he said:

“When we talk about wildlife, let’s not use the word euthanize. We are killing bears and other animals, and it’s our behaviour that’s causing it. We’re infringing on their territory, not the other way around. We need to consider their safety as well as ours.”

Councillor Richard Pootmans

Residents in the City of Calgary are encouraged to contact their city councillor and support these amendments before the September council meeting.

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