VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – They’re a convenient way to scare off bears in the B.C. backcountry. But lately, the city of Vancouver has received dozens of complaints of people setting off bear bangers downtown and in surrounding areas where there probably aren’t any bears around.
So Tuesday, city council is considering a total ban on the sale and use of the devices within city limits, as well as $1,000 fines for anyone caught violating the new bylaw.
Bear bangers are similar to fireworks, and can be purchased at most outdoor supply stores. Unlike bear spray, which requires the purchaser to sign a liability warning and submit their name and address, bangers are not currently subject to regulation.
A report from Fire Chief Darrell Reid and Jessie Adcock, General Manager of Development, Buildings, and Licensing, notes that the number of complaints about the devices to the city’s 3-1-1 service has spiked since April, and 167 complaints have been logged as of early June.
The Vancouver Police Department experienced a similar complaint wave, and also uncovered evidence that bear bangers were being modified into improvised explosive devices, according to the report.
Of the various stakeholders consulted, most were supportive of a ban. The BC Conservation Officer Service says the use of bear bangers is not recommended, and hikers should use bear spray or simply make noise themselves to scare away bears.
Outdoor recreation groups say while the ban would be inconvenient for members, the devices could still be easily purchased online.
One supplier consulted said the prohibition would be “an extreme reaction”, though others did not think it would have a noticeable impact on overall sales.
Also at Vancouver city hall Tuesday, councillors are once again considering the approval of a 28-storey rental tower on West Broadway. Over 100 public speakers were heard over a pair of marathon council meetings this month.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s motion to end police street checks is also back up for discussion.