CRD, not municipalities, to devise next steps on
district should provide leadership on issue, chairman says.
Lavoie, Times Colonist November 29, 2012
lie on the grass at Uplands Golf Club. The CRD is considering
solutions to deer inurban and ruralareas.
by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist
bounced back to the Capital Regional District board Wednesday in the
ongoing debate over deer problems.
giving municipalities the next shot at deer-deterrent bylaws - which
must be in place before the province will consider a trap-and-kill
program or any changes to hunting regulations - the CRD board will
first take a crack at coming up with some regional solutions.
think it's appropriate to send the report directly from this
committee to municipal councils," said CRD board chairman Geoff
Young, after 16 presentations from members of the public were made to
the planning, transportation and protective services committee.
should be something the CRD board is prepared to stand behind."
distills recommendations from the citizens advisory committee, which
looked at possible solutions to deer in urban and rural areas. Some
measures could be taken by municipalities, while others would need
the regional district should provide leadership by coming up with
information on deer-resistant plantings or a model bylaw prohibiting
The CRD could
also lead discussions with the Transportation Ministry about speed
limits in areas where there are deer collisions and ask the federal
government about approval for immuno-sterilization drugs, suggested
wildlife and invasive species is something we are going to have to do
as a developed area," Young said. "This board should
provide some leadership because it clearly crosses municipal
should look at what has worked in other urban centres and what
measures are already in place in Greater Victoria municipalities,
said Saanich Coun. Vic Derman.
Mayor Graham Hill agreed that the report should be clarified and sent
to the board.
this as a work in progress," he said. "There's not going to
be a silver shotgun shell."
people were at the meeting. The majority of speakers wanted
Victorians are becoming increasingly intolerant of wildlife and
unwilling to make concessions such as planning for wildlife
all the green space and wildlife is gone, it will be too late,"
Val Boswell said.
is a major problem, said Dale Lovell. "Deer have a place here.
They were here before us."
population on Vancouver Island is about one-quarter of what it was in
1980, said Tony Rose, who scoffed at reports that deer are dangerous.
"Like any wild animal, you have to treat deer with caution, but
they are not dangerous," he said. "Guns are dangerous."
Sutherland, who was representing the Victoria Master Gardeners
Association, said complaints from members are soaring.
found there are no deer-proof or reliably deer-resistant plants.
Every year, damage is reported on plants thought to be immune,"
she said. "A regional deer management plan can only be effective
if it includes a significant deer population reduction."
for total extermination.
definition, wild deer encroaching into civilized areas and farmland
are vermin," said landscape designer Lynn Morton. "Get rid
of them - all of them - the sooner the better."
Two months after a citizens advisory group put forward
its recommendations for deer management in the Capital Region, the
province has told affected municipalities to choose their own actions to
take on overpopulation.
In September, the Capital Regional District's planning,
transportation and protective services committee asked for provincial,
federal and First Nations input on options that required
inter-jurisdictional approval, such as a controlled public hunt.
But at an Oct. 3 meeting, provincial staff said any decisions must first come from municipal councils.
"The sense we got from both the federal government and
the province was, 'Don't come and ask us to look at doing anything until
you've done what you need to do locally,'" said Andy Orr, CRD
Federal government and First Nations representatives did not attend the meeting, the report states.
Committee members will vote on Wednesday (Nov. 28) to
allow staff to present the deer management report to municipal councils.
The CRD's committee of the whole will also need to approve the
The report breaks down the options into four
categories: conflict reduction (such as fencing and anti-feeding
bylaws), population reduction (such as capturing or culling),
deer-vehicle collision mitigation (such as lowering speed limits) and
public education. It is then up to each municipality to decide what
measures to take to deal with the issue.
"The CRD could be instrumental in implementing the
recommended management strategy, most notably as the information
provider to municipalities on implementing deer management measures,"
the report states.
"The region could also take on the monitoring,
reporting and evaluation functions, including administering the
recommended oversight committee."
The CRD does not currently have a wildlife management service, and any staff work would require funding, the report states.
The committee meeting takes place Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
at the CRD building, 625 Fisgard St. There will be an opportunity for
To register to speak at the meeting, visit crd.bc.ca and search "deer management."
Conflict reduction management options,
including fencing, landscaping alternatives, anti-feeding bylaws and
repellants appear to be best addressed at the municipal level due to
jurisdictional authority in consideration of the recommended changes.
Similarly, as municipalities are the controlling jurisdiction over
local roads, they are best positioned to adopt recommended
infrastructure and administrative recommendations to address
deer-vehicle collision mitigation.
Due to the distributed nature of the
deer population and associated conflicts across the region, it is
also appropriate for the decision on the option of capture and
euthanize to be made at the municipal government level. It is
possible that the CRD could assist in coordinating the provincial
approvals required for those municipalities that choose to apply this
Municipalities told to do more about deer before
asking province for help
Lavoie, timescolonist.com November 21, 2012
must take the bull by the horns — or the buck by the antlers —
before they can ask for provincial help in solving their deer
problems, says a Capital Regional District report going to
directors next week.
prohibiting deer feeding and allowing higher fences, combined with
public education about repellents and landscaping options, should
be in place before either municipalities or the CRD goes to the
province asking for changes to hunting regulations or a trap and
kill program, the report says.
case of population control measures, provincial approval is
required, but conflict reduction measures need to be in place
prior to qualifying for such approval,” it says, adding,
“Conflict reduction measures are largely within the jurisdiction
of local governments.”
takes the multitude of recommendations from the Citizens Advisory
Committee — a group formed this year to address concerns about
the growing number of urban deer — and distills them into lists
of what is possible at the local level and what needs provincial
needed to determine what was feasible and not feasible. How does
it hit the ground,” said Bob Lapham, CRD general manager of
the more controversial proposals — such as professional
sharpshooting and reducing distance regulations for firearms and
bows — have been effectively scrapped. The report says those
measures are considered socially unacceptable and unfeasible
because of safety risks.
does not like the idea of being given authority to deal with
aggressive deer, which is seen by municipalities as a form of
of such authority would come with added insurance, liability,
firearms, staff training and other issues that municipalities are
unlikely to willingly assume,” the report says.
and relocating deer has been dismissed because deer do not travel
well and deer contraception is not available in Canada at this
time, said Marg Misek-Evans, regional planning manager at the CRD.
some municipalities may choose to go it alone and ask the province
for action on hunting regulation changes or culling with a clover
trap and bolt gun.
people that worry this is an endless loop, options are available
to municipalities right away,” Lapham said.
question is whether municipalities want to act individually or
regionally, he said.
are a lot of steps that can be taken in more rural areas. In urban
areas, it is more challenging,” he said.
will go the CRD’s planning, transportation and protective
services committee on Nov. 28 at 1:30 p.m. Members of the public
will be able to speak at that meeting.
recommendation is for CRD staff to make presentations to councils
before the report returns to the committee with municipal
feedback. The committee will then make recommendations to the CRD
Bay, where there has been increasing concern over garden munching
and aggressive animals, Mayor Nils Jensen said he hoped leadership
and action would come from the CRD.
problem with a patchwork of solutions is deer do not recognize
municipal boundaries,” he said.
problem could be addressed by subregions as issues on Saanich
Peninsula are different from the core, Jensen said.
are certainly determined to take some action.”
Kidd - Penticton Western News Published: November 20,
2012 2:00 PM Updated: November 20, 2012 2:13 PM
Deer wandering the streets of Penticton shouldn’t be worried
about a cull of their numbers, at least not for a while yet.
While deer counts and other investigations continue, city staff
has recommended to council that no further action be taken, at least
until a lawsuit against the district of Invermere has been settled.
Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft said the lawsuit brought against his
community by the Invermere Deer Protection Society is seeking to
overturn resolutions made by their council, on the grounds that not
enough consultation and investigation of the problem has been done.
As a side issue, the society is seeking pain and suffering damages,
citing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Since all communities are following the guidelines set out by the
Ministry of Environment, a decision against Invermere would put them
all in the same boat, resulting in a general freeze by municipalities
on any further action.
“That may have been their intention,” said Taft, who feels the
lawsuit may have been filed as more of a threat. “At one point they
said if we promised not to do any culls in the near future they would
hold the lawsuit and not go any further.”
Invermere now has a permanent deer management committee and is
continuing with deer counts to gather information for a possible
future cull or other action.
Mayor Dan Ashton said it is time that the province and Environment
Minister Terry Lake took a more active hand.
“This is a provincial issue, we don’t have any control over
wildlife issues,” he said. “Now all of a sudden a municipality is
charged and defending itself. In my opinion, the province has to step
up to the plate here … either delegate that authority or they
themselves take on the responsibility of dealing with an issue that
is going to continue to grow.”
Ashton said he hopes the province is not only listening to the
City of Penticton, but listening to all the communities that are
being affected by the urban deer problem.
“A simple way the city would have to get engaged with this is
there may have to be a shotgun opening, extended season,” said
Ashton. “We do not allow the discharge of firearms in the city
core, but in the vineyards and the orchards, there may be an
opportunity as there was before, but again, we have to work in
conjunction with the province.”
Anthony Haddad, director of development services, suggested city
council might want to do a survey to gauge what actions the community
would like to address the deer population.
“This will most certainly be a requirement of the ministry prior
to the issuance of any permits and should be considered before this
matter is moved forward,” said Haddad.
Future Penticton deer counts might be done over the course of a
week. The initial spring and fall counts conducted by the city
spotted just 20 and 49 deer respectively, which Haddad suggests is
“Most likely, based on the complaints we received, the numbers
are higher,” he said. “Municipalities are learning as they go
that it is more appropriate to do two to three counts within a week …
to better reflect an average.”
Offering his own anecdotal evidence, Ashton, agreed it is
difficult to count the transient deer population, noting that Grand
Forks has tried using paint ball guns to move the deer along. He
suggested marking them during multiple counts.
“I had to stop on South Main as 12 deer walked across the road
right in front of me,” said Ashton. “It is very difficult, we may
have to look at how we do this and get a more accurate count.”
Capital Regional District has overstepped it's authority, and it's
mandate. It has committed an offence so serious that it could be
prosecuted, for spending tax-payer money, and trampling
citizen-rights in the pursuit of PR control of an issue which it
doesn't even have direct legislative control over, but seeks to
represent itself as doing so!
Firstly, the issue is a
divisive one, and there are residents in the CRD for it, and
residents against it - that is not in debate. The debate is the
handling of the issue by the CRD, and now this outrageous slap in the
face of democracy. We hope that you can be instrumental in
publicizing this attempt to derail democracy. This is not about
support for either side of the argument in question - it is about the
democratic process and abuses of power. We know that you can focus on
The bare facts:
Some residents of
urban areas in the Capital Regional District began to notice deer
moving into their areas over the last few years. To some, this is a
delight, to others it is a nuisance. Those who fell into the
"perceived as a nuisance" category, began to complain to
their local Councils that "something needed to be done" to
rid them of deer in their urban area. At the same time, farmers in
the rural areas, who had failed to take the measures necessary to
prevent deer from ingressing on their land, were complaining of
losses of crops, and seeking redress from Councils for financial
losses. The municipalities mainly side-stepped the issue, (note
that certain Councillors had already indicated a bias
in sympathy with citizens who wished to see the deer removed by any
method necessary), but when it became clear that pressure was
mounting (from both sides of the argument - for and against), the municipalitiesdeferred any responsibility for descision-making on
the problem to the CRD.
The CRD - puffed up with
it's own importance - relished it's moment in the sun! A chance to
play God! And that's exactly what it proceeded to do... It
chose to ignore the fact that it was outside it's
own mandate as a District Council as under
Provincial Acts it is directly prohibited from dealing with
legislating an animal control issue when the animal
described falls under control of the crown (as set out in the
Local Government Act), and
it launched straight into setting up a fully-funded Citizen's
Advisory Group to do just that! (A group which the public took
no part in electing, but which was appointed directly by certain
Councillors within CRD who had already indicated that they were far
from bi-partisan on the subject). Note that any members of the
group who were neutral at the outset resigned
during the process because the process was so clearly tainted with
bias that they didn't feel they could be part of it. This
is a matter of record. The CRD then, having appointed
a group which was hand-selected, and already put in place
by Councillors who were openly partisan, sought to repeatedly
ignore representations from groups and individual citizens which it
didn't wish to hear from - and extended invitations to groups and
individuals which it DID want to hear from (there is ample
documentation of this from both the shunned groups and
individuals upon request). It then proceeded to PAY the "Citizens'
Advisory Group" thousands to "consider" the
issue (financials available upon enquiry), and waste futher thousands
in literature, and online outreach to obtain the answer that
it clearly wanted to see from the outset... and all outside
it's legislated mandate. Not only is that clear partisanship,
it's also fraud.
Finally, now the
piece-de-resistance. The CRD has discovered that the groups and
individuals which it had sought to ignore, or to dismiss, have
been seeking to present their side of the argument to individual
municipalities, and the CRD has REACHED OUT TO BLOCK THAT FROM
HAPPENING. Yes, that's right - the CRD is now telling municipalities
which citizens it will allow them to hear in representation on the
subject. Citizens who wish to speak to their own elected
municipal Councillors now have to SEEK PERMISSION FROM THE CRD TO DO
SO! The CRD has instructed the municipalities not to accept
appointments with citizens who wish to speak regarding the issue
unless the Councillor or Council has received the permission of the
CRD to hear them! When the CRD has vetted their representation,
it will allow the municipalities to proceed with accepting an
appointment with the citizen, or NOT!
is an abuse of the democratic process so grotesque that it needs to
be publicized far and wide. Whatever side of the issue an individual
falls into, no citizen of the Province of BC should have to
accept such an outrageous abuse of power and clear partisanship.
Remembering of course that the whole process that CRD has been
seeking to control actually falls outside of their legal remit
to begin with, and should they proceed to seek to pass
legislation they will be in direct contravention of the Local
Further details and cataloguing of the
events and decisions can be obtained from many individuals and
groups, but your initial point of contact and research can be
The Invermere Deer Protection Society thanks Mayor
Gerry Taft for his effort to explain the deer culling decision. His portrayal of the petition filed in BC Supreme
Court as “frivolous” shows disdain for the judgment to allow the
case to proceed, and disdain for the environment and for thoughtful
citizens who appreciate and value wildlife in our community and are
repulsed by the idea of a municipally sponsored, on-going slaughter
and meat production program. There is no shame in sober second
thought but doggedly pursuing the right to kill – perhaps.
On April 5, 2012, district lawyers sent a letter
stating “the District of Invermere is not interested in negotiating
a settlement of this matter”. The mayor talks of “lawsuit” and
“damages” but does not reveal that a district bylaw is the main
issue. We met with the deer committee and they sent a nice
thank you for “a great deal of information regarding urban deer
Conservation Officer Service advises that avoiding
conflict requires “simple behavioral changes” and the use of
fencing and resistant species. That is why we provided information
regarding education and other non-lethal methods of reducing
conflict. The deer committee kept asking for “recommendations” in
spite of our considerable effort. Now it is clear they were
encouraged to engage and challenge – a disappointing diversion of
energy. Sadly, in contrast to Cranbrook, Invermere is still waiting
for the “public education program”. Why are municipalities so intent on accepting
responsibility and possibly liability for the behaviour of wildlife?
In the Wildlife Act “no right of action lies, and no right of
compensation exists, against the government for death, personal
injury or property damage caused by wildlife”. There is a wonderful new tool in wildlife management
called “citizen science” – a component of a well-funded
scientific study for the purpose of conservation. Local examples
include observations of white tail deer in Kootenay National Park and
wildlife in Crowsnest Pass; not the DOI deer count. The deer
committee requested our “recommendations” about the planned
count; however, they never provided the objective and methodology. We responded with information on counting in general
including the recommendation from the Capital Regional District Deer
Management Strategy that “there is no clear methodology to count
deer in urban, rural or agricultural areas” and “volunteer
estimates are likely unreliable and therefore not advisable”. There
is nothing frivolous in our concern that taxpayers and deer will pay
the high cost for misguided determination to kill 150 animals. Sue Saunders Invermere, B.C.
Lavoie, Times Colonist November 4, 2012 7:02 AM
Deer, such as these on a Saanich lawn in May, are a
controversial issue in the region.
by: Bruce Stotesbury , timescolonist.com (June 2012)
Her eyes were wide open and unblinking. All
struggles ceased after she fought unsuccessfully to stand up on
the badly broken leg and it appeared as if now, lying in the ditch
beside Oldfield Road, she knew this was the end.
Another deer hit by a vehicle, another shocked
driver and bystanders wondering how to help.
"I really like deer. I have them in my yard,"
said the driver, who had not yet inspected the dented front of his
"I just don't want her to suffer. She must
have been bedded down in the field and she came right out in front
But who to call? The answer is either local police
or B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
But don't expect the deer to be whipped off in an
animal ambulance. Unless the animal is on the move, it will be
B.C. SPCA's Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre
cannot take adult deer - although they take orphaned fawns - so
adults either have to hobble away on their own or be put down,
manager Kari Marks said.
"We can't take adult deer. They can't handle
captivity. They get hyper-stressed if you try and enclose them,
and fling themselves against the wall to get out," she said.
"Broken legs are almost impossible to fix. You put a cast on
and they just kick it off."
When a deer is hit, it will often go into a state
of shock and then its heart gives out, she said.
"For us, that sometimes looks as if the deer
October and November are the worst months for
vehicle-animal collisions because it is darker during commuting
hours and often wet. It is also rutting season.
"It's a time when the animals are still
really active. They haven't settled down for their winter rest,"
Marks said. "So just be vigilant and slow down. Almost expect
them round the next corner."
When one deer jumps out, look for the next one, as
they rarely travel alone, she said. Wild ARC does take other animals hit by vehicles,
which account for about 25 per cent of intakes.
"Cars are the enemy. They are the biggest
predator of animals in our urban wildlife," she said.
Owls and hawks, attracted by rodents, are frequent
victims, she said.
But a warning to would-be Good Samaritans: If you
bring an injured animal, such as a raccoon or squirrel, to the
centre, transport it in the trunk because many will defend
"We've had to do things like extract
squirrels from under dashboards," Marks said.
Drivers are covered for damage to their vehicles
through their comprehensive policies, ICBC spokeswoman Tamara
"If you have comprehensive insurance, you
will be covered," she said. "If you hit an animal, you
hit an animal. It doesn't matter if it's a lion or you-name-it."
Although animal crashes are increasing in the
Capital Regional District, there is a corresponding increase in
all crashes, according to ICBC statistics.
There were 300 animal crashes and 17,310 total
crashes in 2007, which increased to 380 animal collisions and
17,830 total collisions in 2011.
On Vancouver Island and throughout B.C., animal
crashes have increased slightly, but the number of accidents has
decreased. In 2007, there were 1,530 animal crashes among 36,950
accidents on Vancouver Island. In 2011, there were 1,910 animal
crashes and 36,110 total collisions.
In B.C. as a whole, there were 9,900 animals
crashes among 280,510 accidents in 2007. In 2011, there were
10,050 animal crashes among 258,370 accidents.
An awkward by-product of animal collisions are
deer that stagger to nearby properties to die.
Any deer that dies on a private property in the
CRD becomes the responsibility of the property owner. Unless it is
on a boulevard or roadway, that can mean paying for a private
hauler to take it away.
"Technically, it's the homeowner's
responsibility and, in an absolutely lawful world, the animal
crematorium would come and pick it up - at a price," said
Marks, adding that Wild ARC fields numerous calls from homeowners
who can't believe there is no method to dispose of a carcass.
Municipal officials quietly advise property owners
that if the deer were to magically find its way to the side of the
road, the problem would disappear.
But moving a large dead buck that is starting to
rot is no easy matter, said one Greater Victoria resident as he
considered whether dragging it on a tarpaulin would work. There's
also the question of how elderly people or those in fragile health
could manage to dispose of the carcasses, he said.
In June 2010, some of us began our individual protest by talking
to council members, writing letters and forming the first anti-cull
Facebook page. The Invermere Deer Protection Society came together in
January 2012, with the shocking Christmas announcement that the
District of Invermere would start killing deer.
We’d naïvely expected common sense would prevail, but the
district made the misguided decision to slaughter deer in a doomed
attempt to resolve growing fear and impatience with wildlife. From a
viral video, an inflammatory Union of B.C. Municipalities resolution,
a Ministry of Environment response and reports, eight short deer
committee meetings, a biased opinion survey, and “revisions” of
the Kimberley final report – they never questioned the myth of “too
many urban deer”.
They ignored the Ministry of Environment advice regarding
collaboration and focused all funds and effort toward killing, no
matter what the cost to our community. They misused unreliable survey
results, referenced anecdotes, and ignored thoughtful protest to
justify, defend and promote killing. Even before the first committee
was formed, it was assumed slaughter would please the majority
In the East Kootenays and all northwestern U.S. states, mule deer
populations are declining. All efforts are now focused towards
increasing their numbers. There is no overpopulation in Invermere,
and because the slaughterhouse killing method was never meant to be
used outside of controlled conditions, culling is not “euthanasia”
(killing animals humanely to relieve their suffering).
The district argues that one benefit of killing is the provision
of meat. Unwitting Invermere taxpayers then participated in a covert,
non-profit, seasonal meat processing industry including slaughter,
butchering and meat distribution. This is agriculture, not wildlife
So we are left with property damage and fear of injury as reasons
to kill. Yes, there is risk and managing risk is an established
science. Reducing the number of deer may reduce the likelihood of an
encounter or damage, but will not reduce severity. If we fence to
exclude, educate and implement humane, long-term, non-lethal measures
we can successfully reduce the already low risk.
If it is merely our intolerance at issue, the district has done
little to educate citizens to live with, accommodate and protect
wildlife. In a 2009 Species At Risk Report, Invermere’s official
community plan is criticized because there is “minimal allowance
for wildlife habitat and movement corridors within the plan”.
When our injunction stopped the killing, rather than ending the
conflict, council chose to fight on and vilify the Deer Protection
Society in their determination to slaughter even a few.
We recently joined with other groups to form the B.C. Deer
Protection Coalition. Our mission remains “advocating and
supporting non-lethal deer management through education, research and