Quesnel residents can now be fined $50 for putting their garbage out the night before its scheduled pick up as city council has approved a policy prohibiting residents leaving garbage carts out overnight during a council meeting on Tuesday, May 26.
The policy states that residents must now only put their garbage carts out between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. on collection days in order to minimize wildlife attractants.
Coun. Ron Paull asked for clarification as to whether the policy was being put into place specifically to lower the risk of attracting bears into the community and if so, could the policy be seasonal to reflect when bears are most active in the region.
City of Quesnel Director of Development Services Tanya Turner clarified that the policy was being put forward to deter all wildlife from interfering with residential waste and that birds not bears are the most common problem animal.
“It is not just a bear thing, actually it is a wildlife thing,” said Turner. “The notes that I got from bylaw enforcement, even though there might not be as many files, we do get other complaints, actually birds are the most problematic issue.”
Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson added that he has also noticed birds and domestic wildlife interfering with residential waste.
“I can think of a couple places in South Hills where particularly the ravens get at the garbage and its all season or loose dogs knock garbage cans over and go at it. So it’s across the board on wildlife and domestic wildlife.” Said Simpson.
Counc. Martin Runge voiced his concern that restricting the hours in which residents may put their garbage to the curb may alienate some shift workers who are unable to comply with the changes in policy and that wildlife may still be attracted to residential garbage regardless of whether it is at the curb or not.
“I actually believe that we should educate first – to me it feels a little heavy handed,” said Runge. “I don’t think we are actually slowing down wildlife by moving a garbage 20 feet to the curb. There’s issues regarding shift workers being up between 4 a.m and 8 a.m., I don’t think that’s when these things are happening.”
Mayor Simpson responded that as with all City of Quesnel bylaws, it will be complaint driven and that education and would be the first point of communication with those in violation of the policy and that the $50 was being instituted as a consequence for repeat offenders.
“The matter of principal it’s always education first, everything we do is education first” said Simpson. “The problem we have, is we have some repeat offenders that have problematic situations and we have no consequence. So this is a long standing issue where we are adding the normal consequence that is in our MTI bylaw. So regardless of what you look at, it always feels like it’s heavy handed when you’re adding it, it just adds a consequence to bylaw to deal predominantly with repeat offenders or egregious situations where they have a fallback.”