BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Despite some protest from residents over the increased cost, the Boulder City Council voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of bear-proof trash cans for some neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods west of Broadway will be required to have bear-proof trash cans. That includes about 12,000 residents.

Bears often stroll down from the mountains and foothills looking for easy food sources in town and that includes trash.

City council members said it’s a move to protect both bears and humans.

“I think part of it is establishing in the community that it really was a problem, that bears eating trash in our community was a problem that needed to be addressed,” said Boulder Public Works Val Matheson.

The proposal includes bear-proof trash cans for some neighborhoods in Boulder, those west of Broadway. Those who ignore the rules would face stiff fines.

The city has been discussing bear-proof trash cans for more than a decade. Bears learn early on that trash containers are a good source for food. Once they’ve learned that it’s nearly impossible to break them of the habit.

The community agreed after four bears were killed last summer.

“I think is making a huge difference in decreased accessibility of trash which is their primary food source when they come into town and I think it will make a really big difference,” said Matheson.

Boulder city officials said at least 16 bears call the city limits their home. They hope the new trash cans will get the bears to push on somewhere else for their free meals.

Those specialized trash cans are designed to keep bears out. They can run $150-$260 a piece or rent for about $3 to $5 a month.

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