Bear proof lids have been installed on the garbage dumpster at the Cowichan Lake Marina. People are still leaving garbage beside the bins, however. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

Bear proof lids have been installed on the garbage dumpster at the Cowichan Lake Marina. People are still leaving garbage beside the bins, however. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan bear death prompts outcry for change

More needs to be done to keep bears away from trash

Cowichan Lake Marina staff have swapped out their old garbage bin lids for bear-proof lids following the euthanization of a bear by the BC Conservation Officers Service last week.

“We’ve done everything we can,” said a marina spokesperson.

In recent weeks residents nearby have been watching a particularly pesky bear rifle through the marina’s garbage bins.

While the marina staff recognize it’s been a problem, they say there hasn’t been much they can do about it.

“We’ve locked the bins but people keep dumping their garbage beside them,” said the spokesperson.

She noted that as soon as the bears became a problem, the marina began communicating with the waste management company to acquire specialty lids. It was taking some time, however, as the bear-proof lids are in high demand.

With the pressure of the community mounting, the marina said the garbage collection company rerouted lids destined to be shipped elsewhere to Lake Cowichan as a priority.

“We were doing everything we could. We locked the bins and people just dumped their garbage beside them. The bins are for the marina patrons and not for household garbage.”

BC Conservation Officer Service has confirmed they put the bear down.

Some lake residents are fed up with others putting wildlife in danger with their garbage negligence.

“This Town needs bear deterrent containers or we will have no bears. This “IS” Bear Country and it’s taking way too [long] to be addressed,” said Holly Blissett. “We are paying much higher taxes now so, can’t afford them is just nonsense.”

On July 12 , Todd Carnahan, BC Wildlife Coordinator of Wildsafe BC attended town council’s Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss the current bear aware program for the Cowichan Valley.

According to the meeting’s minutes, “he reviewed the elements of the program which included public outreach and workshops to mitigate and prevent encounters between humans and wildlife.

“He further reported that he would be going to Lakeview Park to train the staff and that he would be attending the local schools in September. He encouraged members of council and the public to follow Wildsafe BC on social media to keep apprised of seasonal changes and priorities of the organization.”

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