by Andru McCracken

Police issued a warning to grain haulers last week who may be dumping product between Valemount and Avola.  The authorities are unsure why the haulers are dumping grain, but it’s not working out for the wildlife feeding on it.

“One possible reason is to reduce weight before arriving at the commercial weigh scales in Kamloops,” said Cpl. Steven Schenkeveld, of Central Interior Traffic Services based in Clearwater

“This practice has been occurring for a number of years and poses problems for the environment, wildlife and the motoring public.”

It’s costing wildlife their lives.

The BC Conservation Officer Service was recently forced to put down a black bear that had become habituated and was feeding on a pile of grain. Bears and other wildlife are drawn to the grain piles which are close to the highway, posing a hazard to motorists by increasing the likelihood of vehicle strikes or wildlife encounters.

Schenkeveld said there is also a cost incurred by highway contractors to clean up the piles, resources that could be better spent improving the highway.

“The contractors are also at risk of a wildlife encounter during the clean-up phase, with bears posing the biggest threat to their safety, especially if the bears are hungry and habituated,” he said.

Schenkeveld warns they will be working with Commercial Vehicle and Safety Enforcement officers and other groups to address the issue.

Police would like to remind motorists to watch for wildlife as you travel BC’s highways and, for your own safety, never exit your vehicle or attempt to feed any wildlife at the roadside.

Anyone with information regarding illegal grain dumping is asked to report it to any of the following agencies:

Central Interior Traffic Services in Clearwater at 250-674-2237; the RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277; Commercial Vehicle and Safety Enforcement at 1-888-775-8785; or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477