SEGUIN TWP. – Seguin council is considering making it illegal for Neil Hamer to do what he’s done for years - feed bears in his backyard.
Hamer owns a convenience store and home at the corner of Highway 69 and Hamer Bay Road. For the last five or six years he’s fed area black bears outdated merchandise, such as bread, apples and milk.
The bears, he said, are gentle as lambs with him and tend to leave if strangers are nearby.
“When I see people out there (40 or 50 feet away) with kids I tell them to get away…they are wild animals,” he said. “Most of the time they do run away with a strange person (in the area), but there’s no real problem with bears being aggressive with humans because that’s not natural to them.”
One former nearby cottager was concerned about him feeding the bears, he said.
“They were concerned the bear would come out of the bush, grab their kid and take off with them,” he said.
He’s said he’s not sure why people are so concerned about bears, “because they’ve been here for centuries.”
McDougall Township passed a bylaw that bans feeding bears there in January after neighbours of a property where bears were fed voiced safety concerns.
Seguin is now looking to follow suit at the request of some Lake Joseph residents. It considered the issue last fall and opted at the time to see if McDougall’s bylaw did pass.
Mayor David Conn put the matter on Seguin’s last council agenda for discussion.
“We have an issue on Hamer Bay Road,” said Conn.
He told council to consider McDougall’s ban to see if Seguin should adopt a similar bylaw in the future.