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Letters to the Editor – Opinions

Don’t put out the welcome mat for wildlife

My name is Kim Drescher, and I am the Sunshine Coast WildSafeBC Community Coordinator. WildSafeBC has officially launched its inaugural program in order to reduce the amount of human/wildlife conflict in communities, through education, innovation, and cooperation. It is based on the successful Bear Aware model and can now address several other species, such as Coyotes, Cougar, and Deer.

Spring has seen a vast increase in wildlife activity this year; in fact black bears were spotted in neighbourhoods as early as February. As I write this, more local black bears have been destroyed in the past weeks than the whole of the 2012 season.

Leaving garbage outside acts as an open invitation to  wildlife to come to your property for food. Wildlife can become habituated to human refuse and other attractants. Black bears are always hungry; they can adapt to urban settings as long as there is easily obtainable food like tasty garbage, high protein bird/livestock feed, windfall, odorous compost, etc.

Once these animals are accessing a non-natural food source and are habituated, they can pose a risk to public safety. For instance, a black bear may attempt to defend its food source – although most bears prefer to avoid confrontation and will display a defensive attack in the form of a bluff charge and vocalization (huffing, blowing, jaw popping).

Some strategies to avoid putting out the welcome mat would be to thin out brush to reduce cover around your outdoor areas, clean barbecues, aerate compost regularly, remove bird feeders, pick fruit/berries, feed pets indoors, use proper husbandry with chickens and other livestock, put up electric fencing to protect crops/livestock, ensure vehicles are closed with all attractants removed, avoid the use of outdoor freezers/fridges, and place garbage on curb on the day of pick-up only.

Each time someone puts out their garbage (or a bucket of food in the eyes of a bear) before scheduled pick-up day, it is like loading a weapon. It can literally become a death sentence for a bear. Keep our wildlife, wild and our community safe.

Information about different species and a list of attractants can be accessed at The Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP) is also on this site, so please feel free to use this mapping initiative to record sightings on the Sunshine Coast. For urgent matters, please call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell phone.

Kim Drescher, Sunshine Coast 

How clean is our air?

At a check-up appointment recently, I mentioned to my physician that my eyes are dry, gritty-feeling and irritable; my throat is similar and I often experience what I consider more-than-normal thirst.  I also have some loss of overall energy and a shortness of breath. Blood tests, however, showed nothing that would account for this.

In the ‘chit-chat’ part of the visit, I mentioned the annoyance of excessive cleaning related to the significant dust accumulations every day on my deck, in my home and on my car. My doctor asked specific questions about the source. The dust clearly comes from the gravel mine and has increased from barely noticeable to oppressive in the seven years’ time I have lived in my current situation. Regularly on dry days I observe monstrous clouds of dust as trucks race across roads on bare mine hillsides.

I questioned the doctor about health ramifications of breathing such levels of dust 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She said “lungs don’t appreciate it,” as proven by health difficulties associated with coal miners and the like. And she said she would heartily support studies to determine dust levels and their impact on local health.

Therefore, I encourage all concerned Coast residents to speak with your physicians and your local and/or provincial governments. Our children are counting on us to safeguard a healthy environment.

Nina Haedrich, Sechelt

Cowrie street still in limbo

The Cowrie Street debacle continues in Council.  First it was a one-way street proposal that I think hurts business because the return access is too difficult along with backing up into a one-lane street could impede traffic.

Now the latest idea floated is a pedestrian mall.  That means even less parking and could lead to a hangout mecca for street people. I feel closing Granville Street in Vancouver to traffic is what killed it and it has never really recovered.

And a shuttle bus sounds costly and surely not necessary for the few blocks of business here.  Giving tickets for parking over the two hour limit will discourage business especially if one wants to do lunch and shopping, not to mention the resentment it will cause.

In 40 years, I have never had a problem parking within one to two blocks of any business in Sechelt.

It’s common knowledge that supply and demand along with competitive pricing is what determines the sustainability of a business.

Leave it to the free market, Council. If taxpayers’ money is burning a hole in your psyches, put it down on the golf course debt.

Andrea Smith, Halfmoon Bay

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