City must lead discussion, Councillor says

Bear attractants such as fruit trees on City property must be dealt with

The fact that one of the two three-year old grizzly bears who had been roaming Kimberley for over a week was shot has upset a number of people.

Coun. Darryl Oakley, himself a wildlife biologist, says that  the bears were feeding almost exclusively on fruit trees, and that there are still a number of black bears reported in town doing the same. Fruit should be picked by the end of August to avoid these situations, Oakley says, and the City has to lead the way.

“There are lots of fruit trees on City property,” Oakley said. “We just took out four apple trees near where the Townsite stairs are being replaced. There were two black bears hanging around and we received calls from parents concerned with students walking to school. We made the call to take the trees out.”

Oakley says some sort of solution has to be found and given that the City talks so much about not feeding wildlife, Council needs to have a conversation on what to do with fruit trees on city property.

“We have signs all over town saying ‘don’t feed wildlife’. We have to lead. One way or another, we have to deal with fruit trees. Unfortunately we are not quite there yet in terms of partnerships that would get the fruit picked. My view as a councillor, and I only have one vote, is that we have to have a conversation.”

Oakley says that the Townsite trees were taken out and fruit picked up by city crews. Operations crews are also making notes of where other fruit trees on city property are, so if Council does decided to do something they will have that information.