The provincial government recently announced that they were making a pot of $100,000 available to communities to deal with urban deer.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick says that the City of Kimberley will not be applying for any funding from that pot.
There are two reasons for that, he says.
One is that the deadline for applying for funding comes before the city’s annual deer count, which is led by the Ministry of Environment. That usually takes place at the end of November. The deadline for applying for funding is October 31, 2019.
“We have told the Ministry we won’t be applying,” McCormick said. “After the count, we will see if we need to take action.”
Operating under recommendations set several years ago by Kimberley’s Urban Deer Committee, the threshold for taking any action to reduce deer numbers is 120 animals.
“It was decided then that 120 animals living within Kimberley’s 60 square kilometres was manageable.”
The other reason that the City hesitates to apply is that they have been told by the Ministry that translocation — the City’s preferred method to reduce deer numbers — is not an option this year.
“We have a letter from the Ministry telling us translocation licenses won’t be issued until further notice because of chronic wasting disease.”
McCormick says that the fear is that if there is animal in Kimberley that has CWD, then translocating it elsewhere would spread the disease.
This leaves the City with few options for reducing deer numbers, should the count indicate that it’s necessary.
“We have been direct with the Ministry that lethal culls are not effective,” he said. “We’ve had vandalism, civil disobedience, negative publicity, neighbour versus neighbour. It’s not productive.
“So exactly what options are available will be discussed after the deer count.”
McCormick says he wants to make it clear that the City’s relationship with the Ministry is good.
“The meeting with Ministry staff was excellent. It was objective and open. We understand the constraints both of us are working within.”