Port Moody receives Bear Smart Certification

Port Moody Mayor Meghan Lahti (centre, holding plaque), Councillor Haven Lurbiecki (second from left), Councillor Kyla Knowles (sixth from left) and General Manager of Community Services Julie Pavey-Tomlinson (far right) celebrated the city’s achievement of official Bear Smart Community status on June 25, 2024 with Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac (far left), members of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and members of the Tri-Cities Bear Aware group.

 On June 25, 2024, the City of Port Moody celebrated its new designation as a Bear Smart Community with representatives from the Province, B.C. Conservation Officer Service, and community partners at Pioneer Memorial Park.

“We are so proud to be a Bear Smart Community as this achievement reflects our commitment to reducing human-bear conflicts and keeping people and bears safe,” said Mayor Meghan Lahti. “Bear Smart status is not easy to obtain. I would like to thank City staff and all our volunteers, community partners, residents, and business owners who have worked extremely hard over the last several years to help Port Moody achieve this designation. The most effective way to reduce human-wildlife conflicts is to secure attractants, such as garbage, birdseed, compost, pet food, and unharvested fruit trees. I encourage everyone in our community to be bear smart and continue to work together to manage attractants and help keep wildlife in their natural habitat.”

“The Province commends the dedication and hard work by the City of Port Moody in achieving Bear Smart Community status,” said George Heyman, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Bear Smart practices truly make a difference in reducing human-wildlife conflicts. We hope other communities follow Port Moody’s strong example of securing attractants, developing robust bylaws and educating residents and businesses to help wildlife stay wild and alive and keep their community members safe.”

The Bear Smart Community Program is a voluntary, preventative conservation measure that encourages communities, businesses, and individuals to work together to reduce conflicts with bears. The program is designed by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in partnership with the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and is based on a series of criteria that communities must meet to achieve Bear Smart status.

Port Moody’s new designation follows the development and implementation of a comprehensive Human-Bear Conflict Management Plan, which was informed by a Bear Hazard Assessment. Recommendations from these documents have led to policy and bylaw changes, such as enhanced enforcement mechanisms in the Solid Waste Bylaw, improvements to the City’s Naturescape Policy to enhance habitat connectivity, and the development of a preferred plant list with landscaping recommendations for areas near bear habitats.

The City’s Bear Essentials education program continues to build general awareness about bear behavior and the importance of managing attractants. Through this program the City also delivers targeted communications to residents, including information about how and why to report bear sightings, during active bear seasons to encourage bear smart practices. The Bear Essential education program and the achievement of Bear Smart status would not have been possible without the ongoing support of the community. Special recognition goes to Carla Parr-Pearson, founder of the Port Moody Tri-Cities Bear Aware group, for her collaboration with City staff in enhancing our Bear Essentials program and community awareness. The City of Port Moody remains committed to future Bear Smart initiatives with community partners, including creating permanent wildlife signage in parks and trails, developing more waste storage solutions, and further educating residents on managing attractants, wildlife coexistence, and bear encounter prevention tips.

Port Moody is only the 11th community in B.C. to obtain official Bear Smart status since Kamloops became the first in 2009. Since then, Squamish, Lions Bay, Whistler, Port Alberni, Naramata, New Denver, Coquitlam, Port Hardy, and Castlegar have achieved the designation.

Preventing conflict with bears is a community-wide responsibility. Find out what you can do to help at portmoody.ca/bears.