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LETTER: Allow chickens, don’t ban compost piles, keep fruit trees, but control garbage

From reader Bonnie Baker

Re: LETTER: Please stop killing bears, Sept. 23

I have been an organic farmer for over 35 years in the Slocan Valley. I live in Nelson now, and I continue to grow much of my own vegetables.

I agree that killing so many bears this year has been tragic. We humans have attracted bears to our town because when bears don’t have food up high in the mountains, they still need to find it somewhere.

So, we do live in bear, skunk, and now, rat and raccoon country, but don’t blame local gardeners with composters or fruit trees in their yards. When I lobbied city hall to permit chickens in Nelson, this same argument came up, despite big cities like New York and Vancouver allowing it.

Bear-proof garbage bins are available and folks who want them should have access to them. Also, keeping the garbage in the house until garbage day is a lot cheaper. And there are clever folks in town who have built sturdy composters to keep the rats out. We know that household scraps in a compost pile need to be covered with soil.

This is not rocket science, folks. Growing some of our own food in Nelson could happen safely if we really wanted it to happen. Banning compost piles or removing all our fruit trees is asinine. So keep your garbage inside until garbage day and freeze the smelly stuff.

How about we think about solutions instead of dumping on local folks who just want to grow food and have four chickens to help in the process.

Bonnie Baker