Kimberley City Council made a move that will likely bring them closer to a translocation permit this winter, although Coun. Albert Hoglund said it “blew his mind” that they were being forced to do so.
The motion was brought forward by Mayor Don McCormick and read; “THAT Council instruct the Chief Financial Officer to include $5,000 in the 2019 budget to hire a contractor to lethally remove deer translocated from Kimberley that attract complaints from neighbouring communities in order to comply with a condition of the 2018 translocation permit from FLNRO.”
“We had real challenges to working with both the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO),” said Coun. Darryl Oakley, who sits on the Deer Committee. “The Mayor and I have worked diligently to get this transfer permit for 50 deer. We will receive matching FLNRO funding but the snag is that FLNRO is worried about deer going into other communities and causing safety issues.”
Oakley explained that the Conservation Officer service has a triage process to determine whether a deer should be taken out or not.
“If the COs decide not to remove a deer, FLNRO wants us to have money put aside to remove that deer.”
“Nine or ten deer from the previous translocations ended up in different communities,” said McCormick. “The only reason the deer stand out is because they have a collar on. This is just precautionary. We just set aside $5000. If we don’t use it, we don’t use it.”
“Why don’t they just come here and cull them?” asked Coun. Albert Holland. “We are paying twice. First to move them and then to kill them if they are problems. It blows my mind. They are the province’s deer.”
“The days of a lethal cull in Kimberley are gone,” McCormick said. “We’ve experienced vandalism. People don’t want traps on their property. The amount of negative publicity animal rights groups can generate is huge.
“We’re fortunate we have a winter range in striking distance. At least translocation is an option for us. We’re still in study mode. We are going to have to be flexible. We’ve just had an incident where a dog was put down. We are responsible for public safety.”
“We’ve spent considerable money on this,” Hoglund said. “I still don’t believe the province is coming to the table.”
Oakley said he understood Hoglund’s frustration but ultimately Council had a responsibility to the community.
“Translocation is our chance to get something done. The ministry has come to the table with matching funds.”
It was explained that reports of problem deer in other communities would have to come through calls to the provincial RAPP line.
“The province has us over a barrel,” said Coun. Bev Middlebrook. “They know we have a deer problem.”
“If we don’t do this, we can’t do translocation,” McCormick said, adding that it was an imperfect process but the best they could do at present.