Ordinance aims to keep bears out of trash

Published: Jun. 17, 2019 at 8:13 PM AKDT
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An ordinance scheduled for public comment on Tuesday would have new standards to prevent bears from finding their way to your garbage.

Forrest Dunbar, the assemblyman who cosponsored the ordinance, said that the main part of the bill allows code enforcement officers to fine people violating the requirements for their containers. This includes the time constraint in which containers can be put outside for collection, where bins can be stored and the maintenance of trash containers.

The other section touches on Secure Trash Regulation Zones.

This section would require people living in certain areas to have bear resistant containers.

"We don't think those will roll out very quickly," Dunbar said about the zones. "We think the first one will be in Girdwood."

Dunbar said that one of the reasons why Anchorage will not see an immediate designation for the zones is because there is not currently multiple sizes for the containers.

David Battle, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said this ordinance would allow the municipality to better-regulate trash to prevent bears in neighborhoods.

"This could really be a game-changer for Anchorage," Battle said. "If we could actually get bear resistant containers required in particular areas of conflict, we could really make those neighborhoods so much safer. Because that's what this is really all about: safety of neighborhoods."

Trash handling violations could result in fines between $100 and $500 depending on the number of previous offenses.

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