The provincial government announced last week that they would be committing up to $100,000 for future urban deer management options.
Details on how the funding will be made available will be worked out in consultation with a new Urban Deer Advisory Committee, once it is formed. Any project would require review and permitting by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, in accordance with the Wildlife Act.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick says that while $100,000 is not a lot of money, it is nice to see the provincial government agreeing to collaborate with municipalities.
There were meetings on urban deer issues at the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting in Vancouver, McCormick says.
“The community of Oak Bay was driving the meetings at UBCM,” he said. “Here in the East Kootenay we began dealing with it four years ago. We’ve been through culls, animal rights activists and now we have a translocation pilot study about to go ahead.”
McCormick says that Kimberley has a multi-prong approach to the deer issue and has managed to keep the urban deer population fairly steady since the cull.
“We’ve managed to keep numbers down. The Deer Management Committee made several recommendations, which we have followed.
“We have a deer feeding bylaw, every fall we have education in the schools. We’ve done a number of things to manage the deer and they have all had a cumulative affect.”
However, the City of Kimberley is going to step up the No Feeding Bylaw enforcement.
The City Bylaw Officer had been given discretion on handing out tickets but Council has decided that it’s time to get serious, especially with repeat offenders.
“The Bylaw Officer has been instructed to hand out tickets and the fines will be higher, substantially higher for repeat offenders,” McCormick said.
One thing is for certain, the mayor said, you can’t rest after trying one thing. You have to keep searching for different solutions.
“We need tools in the tool kit, multiple tools.”
A positive development at the UBCM was a resolution calling for the use of hazing as another tool was passed.
“That requires a change in legislation,” McCormick said.
One of the key statements made in the government announcement was that the province wanted to develop “socially acceptable” urban deer management solutions.
McCormick agrees that culls are not likely to be used again — there is too much opposition. Kimberley was able to cull a sizeable number once, but that was very early days in dealing with the deer issue. A second attempt at a cull was not as successful, with the deer traps being vandalized resulting in it being called off.
That’s why any new options, such as the translocation pilot, are important. Seeing a group such as the Animal Alliance commit $10,000 to the translocation study is a very positive step, McCormick says.