COLUMN: Solution could come with a little help from B.C.

Dealing with urban deer is not just a municipal problem

You either love ’em or hate ’em. Feed ’em or haze ’em.

Urban deer are making their mark in Sooke’s city core.

The ungulates feed themselves on anything that is green and colourful.

And depending on what side of the fence you’re on, they’re either magnificent animals or beasts.

The problem is municipalities have concerns with them too, and can do little to control them.

B.C. SPCA chief scientific officer Sara Dubois points out local governments have been tasked to deal with complex management issues that should be under the mandate of the provincial government.

Those problems have been handed down without the province providing resources, experience or expertise.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities, a lobby group for municipalities, even got into the act by asking the province to create a strategy for municipalities. The province complied and came with a number of options that municipalities could use, but asked those same municipalities to implement it.

The only problem is there is no verification module. For instance, if a municipality wants to conduct a deer cull, it would need to set up a committee, get community input, possibly change bylaws, do a deer count, but when the time came to do the kill and obtain a permit, the province doesn’t do due diligence to see if all has been done correctly.

Remember, under the B.C. Wildlife Act, the province “owns” all wildlife in the province.

One would think somewhere along the line their would be some accountability.

Recent culls across the province have had less than good success. In Oak Bay, with no measured deer overpopulation and no survey of community residents, the cull went ahead. After considerable opposition, 11 deer were killed without learning the local deer population or its movement. And in Elkford after the removal of 39 mule deer, the municipality is now struggling to address an unforeseen ungulate issue – elk have now moved into the habitat previously occupied by the mule deer.

These are trends that can be seen over and over again across B.C. where culls have been conducted.

The province needs to look at this method of disposing of “unwanted” animals in a more humane and logical way. To replace one problem with another is not the answer.

Municipalities need more guidance and expertise. After all, urban wildlife management issues aren’t going away, and certainly won’t take care of themselves.

•••

Kevin Laird is editor of the Sooke News Mirror. He can be reached by email at klaird@blackpress.ca or by phone at 250-642-5752.

Just Posted

Group seeks to build honorary RCMP sculpture in Sooke

Sooke RCMP officers work long hours protecting the community, and a local… Continue reading

Refugee family gets help with rent

Sooke council changes scope of $3,600 grant

Central Saanich police chase down speeding biker

A motorcyclist from the Lower Mainland was caught on the Tsawout reserve… Continue reading

Plans in place for Cordova Bay commercial development

Staff approve proposal for 91 residential units and 46,797 commercial space for Cordova Bay

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

B.C. hockey player nominated for Hobey Baker Award

Myles Powell is a forward at Rochester Institute of Technology

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Newly freed Diab wants reforms to Canada’s ‘lousy’ extradition law

French authorities dropped terrorism charges against Hassan Diab who was suspected of taking part in an attack in Paris in 1980

Most Read