KITIMAT’S MAYOR will pay a hefty fine to a wildlife rehabilitation centre as part of her sentence for a wildlife act violation charge.
Joanne Monaghan will pay $1,100 to Northern Lights Wildlife Society, located in Smithers, after she pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with a wildlife protection order to stop using bear attractants of birdseed/sunflower seeds in provincial court Dec. 8.
Monaghan had originally pleaded not guilty Sept. 21, 2010.
She was also ordered to not have any feeders or seeds on her property and to pay a $100 fine and $15 victim fine surcharge.
“All it is, I had a squirrel feeder in my backyard, along with 500 others in this town, and because I’m the mayor and chairman of the bear committee, they (conservation officers) decided to come and have a look,” she said by phone in August 2010.
One bear did come on her property in the 31 years she’s been there, which she attributes to having a mountain ash tree on one side of her yard and an apple tree on the other side.
With two young children living next door, she decided to use a bear banger, which a lot of people use, to scare it away, she said, and conservation officers decided to charge her.
The bear banger was loud enough that someone thought gunshots were being fired and it got the attention of conservation officers, she said.
Last year, she also said she believed the charge against her would be dropped and still had her squirrel feeder, saying she loved the squirrels and had the feeder for more than 30 years.
Many people in the city have squirrel and bird feeders, she said.
When conservation asked her in a letter why the bear committee had been dismantled, she replied that no one else wanted to be chairman and take the risk of getting charged like she had and the committee just fell apart.
“I said ‘I’m sorry’. He said ‘you did so much good,’” she said.