District passes the buck on deer control

deer Saanich #yyj cull CRD Victoria

Maintaining the status quo of essentially doing nothing to control the region’s deer population will result in a greater financial burden for different governments, and continued risk of injuries or fatalities from car-deer collisions, according to a CRD report presented this week.

Saanich councillor Vic Derman, vice-chair of the Planning, Transportation and Protective Services Committee, says it took eight months to get a report stating something that was already well-known.

“It just says there should be essentially an inter-municipal committee formed. We need to get together with stakeholders, need to create a plan for action and need to look for ways to fund that,” he said.

Derman brought forward a motion to Saanich council last October to create a municipal deer task force, but Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton beat him to the punch at the CRD level.

Both Derman and Causton sat in on a Ministry of Environment presentation about deer at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in September, where the province told municipalities that deer populations should be controlled by the provincial government, but that there is no money to do it.

The CRD should expect to foot the $125,000 bill to get the ball rolling if the issue is enough of a priority to be budgeted into next year’s regional financial plan.

“I’ve read the report … this doesn’t need to be studied,” Causton said. “I hate to make the pun, but it seems that everybody is just passing the buck, literally. No one seems to be taking responsibility for this. To me, it’s clearly a provincial responsibility.”

Solving the deer problem, as indicated by the report, will likely require a number of actions, including modifying deer and human behaviours, amending government regulations and reducing the herd size. The integrated plan will require participation from local and provincial governments, as well as the general public.

It is expected that an inter-municipal committee will be established and a significant public consultation process will have to be held.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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