MISSOULA — The Missoula City Council will put an ordinance up for final consideration that would expand bear buffer zones and require residents in these zones to have bear-resistant trash bins.
A public comment session was held Monday evening to hear public comments and answer resident's questions prior to Monday evening's vote.
The current regulations in Missoula for bear buffer zones have not been updated since 1996.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks — along with other wildlife organizations at the hearing — addressed questions about tax or cost increases related to the ordinance.
Group representatives noted Missoula’s waste is handled by the private sector so there would be no tax increase They also noted that the cost of waste services — in some cases — has gone down even with the addition of bear-resistant bins.
Missoula resident Erin Edge weighed in to support the ordinance, noting the positive effect it will have on bears and people.
“Passing these regulations would be a huge step forward in minimizing conflict between humans and bears Missoula has the opportunity to lead by example. There are a lot of other communities in Montana and elsewhere that are looking for information on what people are doing to try and prevent conflicts at the community level and so Missoula has that opportunity to lead by example.”
The final vote and public comment for this ordinance will take place at the Missoula City Council meeting on October 16, 2023.