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Nelson installs more bear-resistant garbage bins in parks

In residential areas, city hopes organics diversion project will mean fewer bears

The City of Nelson has installed bear-resistant waste bins in most Nelson parks and will add more 2023.

Six parks have been completely converted: Rosemont, Lions, Davies, Gyro, Cottonwood, and the cemetery, the city’s public works director Colin Innes told Nelson City Council at a Dec. 5 meeting.

At Lakeside Park, there are now eight bear-resistant bins with another 12 to be replaced in 2023.

The new bins, which cost $1,800 including installation, have a bear-proof latching mechanism and are attached to a concrete pad.

At the sports fields, one has been installed and another 14 will be installed in 2023 as well as five at the dog walk.

Innes said his staff empty the park bins once daily.

Containers on Baker, Vernon and Victoria Streets have lower priority for conversion because they are closer to the core of the city. Innes’ staff empty them once per day and sometimes more during tourist or bear seasons.

In 2017 the city made portable residential bear-resistant bins available for purchase to the public. Innes said the city offered 100 64-gallon bins, and in 2019 another 200 more, at a sale price of $205, far below actual cost.

These were not popular with the public, he said, and in 2021 the city sold its surplus supply to other communities.

In the discussion of garbage collection at the meeting there was no mention of the possibility of weekly garbage collection in the summer to deal with the bear issue – a change that was supported by several candidates during the municipal election in October.

Innes said he thinks the city’s organics waste diversion project, in which food waste will be dehydrated to 10 per cent of its weight and volume and will be odourless, will make people’s yards less attractive to bears. The project will take effect as a pilot in Fairview this year.

“Because you don’t have it putrefying and you reduce the quantity of it,” Innes said, “we may not need more enhanced pickup.”

Waste management in the city will be reviewed by council at its strategic planning session early in the new year.


Nelson city hall selling bear-proof garbage bins

VIDEO: Bear observed eating from garbage bin in Lakeside Park

Nelson’s organic waste program to be piloted in Fairview

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Bill Metcalfe

About the Author: Bill Metcalfe

I have lived in Nelson since 1994 and worked as a reporter at the Nelson Star since 2015.
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