Banff Town Council mulls bird feeder, fruit tree ban
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks
Published Saturday, January 12, 2019 10:00PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 13, 2019 3:38PM EST
Banff Town Council is considering a new bylaw to ban bird feeders and fruit trees.
“The goal is to minimize negative interactions between humans and wildlife in the Bow Valley,” Darren Enns, the town’s development services manager, told CTV News. “By keeping wildlife out of developed areas, that minimizes the chances of a negative encounter.”
While interactions between humans and birds is not of much concern, officials worry about the domino effect of attracting wildlife into the Rocky Mountain resort town, which sits directly inside Alberta’s sprawling Banff National Park. Banning fruit trees, they add, would also help prevent hungry bears from entering people’s backyards.
Banff National Park is renowned for its wildlife, such as bears, wolves and elk. Even in the town itself, one can often spot such iconic animals. Under the National Parks Act, it is illegal to feed wildlife, including birds, though charges are rare. The proposed bylaw is thus meant to beef up existing rules.
“Well, the danger is you get other animals other than birds and they’ll try to feed on birdseed too,” a Banff resident told CTV News. “You know, we got squirrels, we got chipmunks.”
“There's elk, there's deer, there's coyotes,” another resident added. “You know, we live in the national park so there's always wildlife around.”
“I think they have to have a complete ban on feeding anything,” yet another Banff local said.
In terms of enforcement of the bird feeder and fruit tree bans, officials say that they would be on a complaint-driven basis. The town is currently seeking public input and will debate the proposed bans this spring.
In the nearby town of Canmore, bird feeders are already banned between April 1 and Nov. 30, when bears are active in the area. In the winter months, Canmore residents are also urged to suspend their bird feeders from cables to keep food out of reach from other wildlife.