Fraser bear ordinance approved |

Fraser bear ordinance approved

Will Bublitz
Fraser, Colorado

FRASER, Colorado ” A ordinance prohibiting the deliberate or unintentional feeding of wildlife was approved at Wednesday’s meeting of the Fraser Board of Trustees.

The approval comes a couple of months after the Town of Winter Park approved a similar ordinance. Fraser’s “wildlife protection” ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.

The ordinance was proposed by Fraser-Winter Park Police Chief Glen Trainor, primarily as a means of reducing the number of bear-related incidents.

Fraser’s ordinance will require all residences to keep their refuse containers inside a house or garage until the morning of the scheduled pickup. Those unable to keep refuse inside will be required to have “wildlife-proof refuse containers or enclosures” approved by the town.

Under the definition provided by the ordinance, a “wildlife proof” container is one with a “latching mechanism” that secures the lid to the body of the container.

The trustees explained these “wildlife proof containers” could be either the specially-designed containers such as those provided by local trash collection companies or as simple as lids being secured to garbage cans with carabiners.

The new ordinance will also require businesses and restaurants to use wildlife proof containers or Dumpsters, which must be “closed and latched at all times except when loading or removing refuse.”

During the discussion on these wildlife proof containers, it was stressed that police officers would not be looking for residents and businesses without “wildlife-proof containers.” They would only enforce the ordinance when there is “an issue” after wildlife have gotten into an unsecured garbage can or Dumpster.

Under the Fraser ordinance, bird feeders are allowed from April 15 to Oct. 15 each year. However, it requires that all bird feeders “must be suspended on a cable or other device so that they are inaccessible to bears and the area below the feeders must be kept free from the accumulation of seed debris.”

While prohibiting deliberate and unintentional feeding of wildlife by unsecured refuse, the ordinance specifically permits residents to own and cultivate outside flower and food gardens.

Before the board gave its approval to the ordinance, a couple of trustees expressed concern that it might be “too broad,” worrying that even naturally growing plants on residential properties might fall under the ordinance’s definition of wildlife “attractants.”

Mayor Fran Cook dismissed those concerns, saying the ordinance would be enforced “reasonably.” She explained, the ordinance’s goal is not only to stop the unintentional feeding of wildlife by unsecured refuse containers, but also to stop those who “intentionally throw out garbage to attract wildlife.”

Other business:

In other business at Wednesday’s meeting, the trustees received copies of the town’s draft budget for 2009. A budget workshop will be held later this month with the board planning to present revisions at its public meetings on Nov. 5 and Nov. 19. The board hopes to approve the final budget by its Dec. 3 meeting.

In presenting the draft budget, Town Manager Jeff Durbin said it was formulated with the expectation of lower revenues in 2009 due to “the state of the economy.” He said these lowered “revenue projections” needed to be discussed during the workshop.

“Every year’s budget is a challenge and next year might be an even bigger challenge,” he said. “The question is: ‘How conservative should we be?'”

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the trustees approved accepting an Energy Impact Grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for the replacement of windows in the Fraser Town Hall. It is a matching grant with the town’s portion being $24,500.

At the end of the meeting, the trustees went into executive session to discuss the dissolution of the Fraser Sanitation District. The town wants to dissolve that district and turn it into a department of the town government.

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