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Development in the Wildland-Urban Interface . By: Adam Evans. Early History. Early in the 19th century increased population in city centers lead to: . problems of quality drinking water . sanitary deficiencies . sickness and disease .

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Early History

  • Early in the 19th century increased population in city centers lead to:
  • problems of quality drinking water
  • sanitary deficiencies
  • sickness and disease
  • The advent of the railway and streetcar (later the automobile), made it possible for workers commute to the city for work.
  • These caused a major shift in where people residentially locate themselves
  • Led to the beginning of ‘Sprawl’

Recent History

  • Through the 20th century more people realized the benefits of living outside the city . These included:
  • A more spacious living
  • Less pollution
  • Less stress
  • Cost effectiveness
  • People are not only moving outside of the city for economic and social factors, but now to look outside of the central city in order to provide habitat for themselves and their families

Beautiful British Columbia

  • Abundance of natural beauty
  • Sprawl shows very little signs of slowing down, especially in areas surrounding the Vancouver lower mainland and South Coast
  • Within a quarter century, more than one million newcomers are expected to settle on B.C.'s South Coast
  • Suburban developments in British Columbia are reaching more rural fringe areas

Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI)

  • Rapid housing development at the urban fringe is causing changes in environmental conditions along its wildland-urban interface (WUI)
  • The (WUI) is area where structures and other human developments meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland areas
  • Creating new ecological challenges and the potential for wildlife-human conflict
  • Especially in areas known for bear activity
black bears
Black Bears
  • Most widely distributed of British Columbia’s large mammals.
  • Wildlife Branch estimates that 120,000 to 160,000 black bears live in British Columbia
  • Only large mammal in the province that occupies every ecosection

Black Bear-Human Conflicts

  • As Sprawl increases in these areas, so do complaints of bear-human conflicts
  • Complaints about black bears in BC have almost doubled between 1992 and 1999 as population has continued to sprawl
  • Attended to complaints are usually carried out by either a relocation of the bear or an outright kill.
  • Five bears were destroyed in 2006. Two for humane reasons and three
  • for bear/human conflict issues

Bear Aware

  • A registered trademark of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation
  • Work with the public, conservation officers, city officials and now developers
  • Aim to find ways to prevent potential bear-human conflict
  • Have created ‘Bear Smart’ Community Programs
  • Working with developers on ‘Bear Smart’ design guidelines

‘Bear Smart’ Community Programs

  • Its goal is to reduce the risk of human safety and to minimize the potential for bears to be destroyed
  • Prepare a bear hazard assessment of the community and surrounding area
  • By reaching as many people as possible through presentations, display
  • booths at local events, articles and listing bear sightings in newspapers, radio and cable interviews
  • Over 1,000 pounds of fruit annually picked, with the majority of the fruit being re-distributed to numerous organizations within the community

‘Bear Smart’ Design Guidelines

  • Guidelines created by the provincial government, with help from the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection
  • Include such things as:
  • Electric-fence gardens
  • Removal of all fruit trees and berry bushes
  • BBQ storage spaces
  • 100% bear-proof receptacles placed throughout community




Trash Can Enclosures & Curbside Solutions

  • If garbage can not be stored indoors, trash can enclosures are an effective way to keep wildlife out of garbage until it can be properly disposed of.
  • If the community has curbside pickup, using a system that provides for bear-proof storage and remains secure at the curb is needed.

University Heights, Squamish B.C

  • Town set to double in population in the next 15 to 20 years from 16,000 to around 35,000
  • Absolutely essential for implementation of ‘Bear Smart’ design guidelines
  • Developer Doug Day, worked with Bear Aware for his development
  • Retrofitted houses in University Heights in hopes of creating a ‘Bear Smart’ community
  • Has set a huge precedent for the rest of the community and for future developers

Bears Aren’t the Problem. We Are

  • The prime reason bears and people come into conflict is improper care of garbage and other attractants. 
  • We need to eliminate the source of the problem - our behaviour. 
  • People and bears are sharing space all over British Columbia 
  • The bears cannot change, but we can.
  • We can prevent conflict by making a few simple changes in our daily routine.
  • Developers can set precedent for the rest of the community and for future developers
  • Our responsibility to make our communities safer and to prevent the unnecessary killing of bears

Why is this important?

  • ‘Sprawl’ doesn’t seem to be stopping. New towns or centers are ‘popping’ up
  • Used as a viable tool in marketing housing developments in hard to sell places
  • The potential for bear-human conflict is unlikely to lessen without such deliberate action
  • “It is pretty hard to turn the clock back on where communities are located, but I think we can do a better job in containing our refuse and our fruit trees”
  • - B.C’s environment minister, Berry Penner
  • “Managing wildlife is one more way to create a green community”
  • - Developer, Doug Day


Atkinson, Cathryn. Builder goes the bear-friendly route:

As developers push into wilderness areas, new strategies are being sought to protect homebuyers and animals alike. Globe and Mail website. 2007. Visited Jan 4/07

Bear Aware. Bear Aware British Columbia website. Visited Jan 7/07

British Columbia's Bear Smart Community Program. British Columbia’s ministry of environment website. 2007. Visited Jan 7/07

Get Bear Smart Society. Bear Smart Society website. 2006. Visited Jan 7/07

Growth Threatens Area's Green Plans: Projected growth in British Columbia has many worried about how the region will handle the rise in population and development. Planetizen website. 2007. Visited Dec 8/07


References (Cont.)

Hodge, Gerald & Gordon, David L.A. Planning Canadian Communities, Fifth Edition. Thomson & Nelson. Canada. 2008

Human-Bear Conflicts. Bears in B.C website. 2006. Visited Dec 7/07

The Wildlife Urban Interface. The Silvis Lab website, University of Wisconsin website. Visited Dec 7/07

University Heights.The University Heights website. 2007. Visited Dec 7/07

2007 UCMB Conference. Union of B.C Municipalities website. 2007. Visited Dec 8/07