Killiney Beach residents advised not to leave fridges/freezers outside for disposal as bears are in the area

Don't leave freezers outside

UPDATE 7 p.m.

Evacuation Orders have ended for 18 properties on Bouleau Lake Road.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says the orders have been downgraded to an Evacuation Alert.

“While we are thankful that we can finally welcome all residents back to their homes, this is just the start of the recovery process” says Corie Griffiths, Regional EOC Director. “Many hazards exist within the area on both public and private lands and residents need to be careful re-entering their properties to start the cleanup.”

ORIGINAL 4:00 p.m.

Residents in the Killiney Beach area, returning home after being evacuated due to the White Rock Lake wildfire, are being reminded how to plan for their fridge and freezer disposal as bear sightings in the area increase.

A husband and wife who resides in a neighbourhood in the Killiney Beach area say people are putting out their fridges and freezers prematurely to be picked up and bears have now opened the appliances resulting in garbage scattered on the ground.

The wife, who asked not to be named, said her neighbours starting putting their appliances out Saturday morning to be picked up and by 6 p.m. she noticed a mess began to accumulate.

“[On Saturday], the neighbours, put their freezers out and then by six in the evening, we thought ‘oh my gosh, nobody came to pick those up’ and then this morning, for sure, the bears came and opened those freezers and the garbage is everywhere,” she said.

The woman's husband said he wasn’t sure if his neighbours misunderstood the instructions sent out by the Regional District of Central Okanagan, as fridge and freezer pick-ups are supposed to be scheduled ahead of time.

The man said he saw at least three or four homes in his area with their appliances out at the side of the road in disarray.

The RDCO website states, “Curbside pick-up of ruined fridges and freezers is available until September 14th. Call 1-855-238-9350 to schedule your curbside pick-up. Please do not put fridges or freezers outside until just before your pick-up time to avoid attracting wildlife.”

“People need to make an appointment prior to putting their fridges and freezers out, for that very reason, we have bears in the area, it's like opening up a supermarket for the bears,” said Central Okanagan West Electoral Area representative, Wayne Carson.

He advised people to duct tape the two appliances closed and don’t open them, especially if in the Killiney Beach area as the power was out for over 10 days.

“We got bears and a lot of their berries got burned up in this fire, I would imagine, so they’re going to be looking for food, it’s getting close to sleeping time for them and they’re going to be wanting to be loading up on food,” said Carson.

“It’s a very bad idea to be putting it out early in the area because even when the company comes to pick up your fridge and your freezer whether it be the restoration company or arrangements the Regional District made, they’re not going to pick up the garbage, that’s going to be yours to pick up.”

For residents who currently have a Do Not Consume Notice for the Killiney Water System, a self-serve water filling station has been set up at the corner of Westside Road and Firwood Road. The water is from the Upper Fintry Water System which remains under a water quality advisory.

Westside Road has been reopened to local traffic only, meaning area residents can now access and egress their properties north to Vernon and south to West Kelowna.

Evacuation Orders remain in place for 18 properties on Bouleau Lake Road until further notice due to hazards in the area which limit to access to some properties.

Properties in Estamont, Ewings Landing, Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates also remain under Evacuation Alert until further notice due to the White Rock Lake wildfire.

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