Incline continues debate over bear-proof bins

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Incline continues debate over bear-proof bins

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Residents of Incline Village met on Wednesday night to discuss possibly requiring the use of bear-resistant bins for their trash. No decision was made.

Residents of Incline Village will not be forced to buy bear-resistant bins for their trash, at least not yet.

Wednesday night, Incline Village General Improvement District Trustees (IVGID) did not take any decisive action on the ordinance that some say is necessary to curb the growing number of bear encounters.

Members of the public were vocal about the proposal and its potential cost. Bob Mitchell says the onus is on residents to do a better job.

"People are responsible for taking care of their trash. It's a people problem more than it's a bear problem."

In 2012, almost a quarter of all bear complaints filed with the state wildlife agency were in Incline. While Incline has ordinances for storing and handling trash, many say the biggest problem is that they are not being enforced.

Joe Wolfe is one of the trustees.

"Let's find out if what we have, if we enforce it for a change, really works."

In the past 30 days, Incline has taken a proactive approach and contracted inspectors to issue citations for anyone who mishandles trash. The number of citations has skyrocketed because of that and most of them are for commercial areas. The trustees agreed that's the priority and they're planning to mandate that homeowner associations and businesses get wildlife-resistant dumpsters.

Some trustees say rentals and vacation homes are also the source of many problems, not full-time residents. But Trustee Jim Hammerel says any policy should be fair and apply to all residents.

"We have a bear problem now. We have a trash problem now. I feel like we are not taking responsibility and ownership as a community."

Trustees say, going forward, they'll explore the option of using reinforced trash cans for residential areas (also called bear carts) instead of the metal bear boxes.