Local Bear Aware programs are asking their city councillors and regional directors to write to the provincial government to keep core funding for the programs.
“At the moment the provincial government has not indicated that they will be providing any core funding for the Bear Aware programs across the province,” said Joanne Siderius Nelson and Areas E and F co-ordinator for Bear Aware.
Siderius came to city council late last month to ask that politicians support the program both with in-kind and financial support and write a letter to provincial ministers Steve Thomson and Terry Lake in support of core funding.
“Last year, there were 22 programs funded across the province, that meant that the programs were subsidized so that there were actually people delivering the programs and budgets available,” she said.
Even though funding for local programs also comes from the Columbia Basin Trust and the regional district, Siderius said the lack of provincial funding would severely curtail the program.
“There would still be money for a Bear Aware budget and money to do some activities, but whether there would be the money available to keep somebody around for the full four months and whether there would be money in the budget for travelling to do work. It would severely curtail the activities of the program,” she said.
Siderius said she didn’t know when the program would find out about the funding, but said she expects it would be announced as budgets roll out around the fiscal year end.
Councillor Candace Batycki did ask that if the city were to support the Bear Aware program financially that council receive a budget from the previous year.
Batycki also asked whether there would be more enforcement next year around the new bear attractant bylaw.
Siderius said she didn’t have to do as much ticketing last year because not as many people seemed to be leaving their garbage out over night.
City manager Kevin Cormack also said that enforcement is also dependent on staffing.
A recommendation was passed that council introduce a motion at a future council meeting to send a letter to the provincial government.