A local group is asking the City of Rossland to help pay for a third bearproof community garbage bin.

Scott Leyland of the Natural Control Alternative Society made the request of council on Monday. He said a third bin would take some of the pressure off the two existing bins in the museum parking lot.

The society is offering to cover the $3,000 cost of buying the new bin, but wants the city to provide a concrete pad, staff monitoring, and one-third of the associated tipping fees for all three bins in 2022, which is estimated at $5,000.

Leyland says the existing bins have been a “huge success.” They are emptied twice weekly and financially supported through a tipping fee box welded to each bin. “The public tips well enough to pay the monthly costs and maintenance,” he says.

The society has been responsible for acquiring and maintaining the bins since 2018, at a cost of $10,000 per year. Their members check the site daily to ensure it is clean and the tipping fees are collected.

However, at times the bins have been stuffed to overflowing, which risks the lids not closing property, potentially allowing bears to get at the garbage. That happened four times this year, although Leyland says it did not result in a a huge mess.

Leyland also asked that the city renew their lease with the Ministry of Highways for the site of the existing bins. A location for the third bin has not been identified.

Council asked Leyland about the use of the bins by city residents versus rural residents. He guessed that between 10 and 20 per cent of those dropping off their garbage are from out of town, but said it was hard to tell. He said he asked similar financial assistance from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary but was turned down.

Leyland says they are hoping for an answer from council in January.

He also noted that an experiment with communal bearproof bins did not work out in Castlegar, where a pilot project was ended early because the bins were being abused.

“But I think a lot of it has to do with how well they’re supervised. It does require a few minutes each day of attending to the bins to make sure they’re not left unlatched for bears to get in. If they are, bears don’t get in. It’s probably the best system out there for keeping bears out of garbage.”