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Grizzly bears roam throughout Creston Valley, and other Oct. 23 town council items

Creston town council heard an eye-opening presentation about the clear and present danger of grizzly bears at Tuesday’s regular meeting...

Creston town council heard another eye-opening presentation about the clear and present danger of grizzly bears at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

Bear Aware coordinator Gillian Cooper showed photos and maps to illustrate grizzly bear (all local grizzlies are tagged and tracked using GPS technology) activity throughout the valley. Earlier this year, council defeated a proposed bylaw that would have restricted bear attractants like summer bird feeders, unharvested fruit trees and the setting out of trash cans the day before garbage pickup.

Maps of grizzly bear activity showed a major crossing of bears moving down from the mountains and along a treed corridor south of Duck Lake toward the Kootenay River. In the past, the bears typically headed south to Highway 21, where they crossed to feed at the Regional District of Central Kootenay landfill site. Fencing of the landfill has been successful, she said, and those bears now seek out food and mating opportunities in the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area.

A program that helps with the costs of bear fencing is available to rural landowners who have bear problems, she said.

“By working with developers and business owners you have done an awesome job of reducing bear attractants,” she told council.

She showed photos of fenced trash container areas behind the Ricky’s All Day Grill at the Ramada hotel and Tim Hortons, and credited a number of existing food service businesses for taking similar precautions.

Of particular interest to town residents, she said, is bear activity in Schikurski Park, which borders on residential areas. Cooper said residents need to be educated about keeping yards clear of ripe fruit and putting out trash in the morning, shortly before the garbage truck arrives.


Council Briefs

•Council endorsed a Federation of Canadian Municipalities campaign to encourage the government of Canada to work with municipalities to create long-term funding program for infrastructure upgrades.

•A motion was passed in support of a planned Creston Valley Bird Fest next May. Project planner Tanna Patterson will be invited to a future council meeting to explain funding needs.

•After learning that the installation of a recharging station for electric vehicles would cost about triple the original $1,000 cost estimation, council voted to set aside the plan until the need for such a station was more evident.

•The period for open burning permits was extended through Nov. 15 on recommendation of Creston Fire Rescue, in recognition of burning restrictions that were only lifted recently.

•An offer from a business owner on 12th Avenue South to allow parking space for public use in return for the town’s commitment to keep it clear of snow was respectfully declined.

“Our studies in the past two years indicate we have no shortage of parking space and this offer, while generous, has liability implications and would set a precedent we don’t want to get into,” said Mayor Ron Toyota.

•Councillors expressed concern for a statement made by RDCK chair and Area B director John Kettle, who reportedly made a statement at the Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments conference on Oct. 19 that “Creston is in serious trouble because of mismanagement.”

Toyota was directed to convey council’s displeasure about the statement, which councillors said was untruthful and inappropriate, in a letter to the RDCK.