At the Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting in Victoria last week, Kimberley Mayor Ron McRae was in on a meeting with Minister of Environment Terry Lake and other communities facing an urban deer problem.
McRae said what the communities were presenting was essentially an invitation to the province to become a partner with affected communities, sponsoring research on how to better manage urban deer populations.
“He listened to what we prevented, but it’s pretty clear there is no money available. He indicated that if individual communities wanted to do research, the province could help out but there is no money. He did ask us to continue to communicate and keep his Ministry updated as we move to the deer count this fall.”
McRae says that in terms of a larger strategy the province isn’t in a position to provide funds.
As it stands right now, Kimberley and Cranbrook are the only municipalities in the province to have done a cull. Invermere attempted one and ended up being challenged in court.
Many communities are watching that Invermere court case, McRae says, because it potentially have repercussions for all communities considering a cull.
“We are all watching and waiting to see how the Invermere challenge goes. The case is related to process not the cull itself as I understand it. But one could put two and two together and say if the challenge is successful with that particular piece, any other community could have issues as well.”
McRae says it is difficult to understand exactly how this legal challenge is moving forward.
“In talking with Mayor Taft the legal challenge is based around not having public hearings, but they didn’t have to have those hearings as they weren’t putting a bylaw in place. They did resolutions around the cull. To be quite honest they are quite confused about the case and how it proceeds under the Community Charter.”