Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins.

Mayor’s message: public perception of deer

We recently went out to the public to ask for their input on what we should do about deer in the township

By Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins

We recently went out to the public to ask for their input on what we should do about deer in the township. Council believes a responsible first step on the issue of deer management is to find out how the public feels about deer in their midst. What do deer represent to residents? Nuisance, or a pleasant part of our community?

A deer sighting, even when within the boundaries of a municipality, is a glimpse into B.C.’s natural environment, and many people value  these encounters. But deer in the community can also mean safety issues for both the animal and residents. Deer can be aggressive and vehicle accidents involving deer are commonplace in our region. Deer can be a nuisance in our gardens, and a potential threat to pets. Deer also attract potentially dangerous predators, including cougars.

Throughout the province, municipalities have struggled with this issue. We need to strike a balance between public safety and the welfare of our wildlife.

We believe that a methodical approach is required for deer management, based on science. That’s why we recently conducted a statistically valid survey of Esquimalt residents to better understand public perceptions and attitudes regarding deer in our community, and gauge the level of deer activity.

Response from the residents of Esquimalt has been excellent.  The results of the survey will provide important information for council and staff as we consider deer management options in the township.

The results of our survey are currently being analyzed and will be presented to council, and made available to the public, by the end of the year. A decision on what form deer management might take in Esquimalt will be made after this.

I encourage residents to stay tuned to our website for more information, and to watch for an urban deer presentation on an upcoming council meeting agenda.

For those who are concerned about deer on their property, there are a variety of resources available through the CRD and the Province of B.C.

For more information visit crd.bc.ca/project/regional-deer-management-strategy.