Police explain shots fired in downtown Castlegar Saturday night/Apple trees in Twin Rivers to be destroyed
Castlegar RCMP have apologized for startling downtown residents Saturday evening by discharging a gun to dispatch a bear that was dangerously close to pedestrians and homes.
Police Cpl. Debbie Postnikoff said police received several bear complaints throughout the evening, but every time they attended, the bear in question was “GOA” (gone on arrival).
That is, until they got a call at 10:52, indicating there was a massive bear at Kootenay Market that was not at all frightened of the caller, who was only about 5 feet away.
“”The complainant said the bear was on its way downtown, and expressed concern, as there were a lot of people walking down toward the Element,” Postnikoff said. “An extremely large bear was located near Tee Jay’s Grocery Store, eating a nearby apartment tenant’s garbage and showed no fear of police officers with flashlights.”
She said officers determined the public’s safety was at risk, given the level of pedestrian traffic in the area, and dispatched the bear, which they later determined to be seven feet tall and an estimated 400 pounds.
“Obviously, in a case such as this, residents become concerned when they hear gunfire, but the need for immediate action disallowed warning the public beforehand,” she said. “Police would like toapologize if this startled any neighbourhood residents, but the situation was well in hand and the action was very necessary.”
She added the garbage the bear was eating was in no way secured, and reminded residents to clear away bear attractants to avoid exactly this sort of potentially dangerous situation.
“I find it very disappointing that, with all of the media attention this issue has been getting, people would still choose to leave their garbage out in open containers.”
In related news, city council unanimously decided, at their regular meeting Tuesday night, to chop down about 30 fruit trees in Twin Rivers Park, after determining the untended trees were attracting bears and thus posed a risk to public safety.
As councillor Dan Rye pointed out, “We’re encouraging residents to secure their garbages and harvest their fruit trees – we have to clean up our own backyard.”