Loud and clear on urban deer

CRD gets big response to call for residents' input on growing issue

It’s been about three months since the Capital Regional District asked people for their opinions on the growing deer population on the South Island, and the response has been as wide-ranging as the animals themselves.

Amidst a growing number of complaints over the animals’ encroachment into urban areas, the CRD established an email account in August to solicit feedback from residents, with an eye toward creating a comprehensive deer management plan for the region.

Oak Bay Coun. John Herbert has been one of the most vocal proponents of a regional strategy. While he’s glad the CRD appears to be taking the issue seriously, he would like to see some action soon.

“I’m glad to see they’ve gotten started, but I think it’s moved slower than it needed to,” he said.

To date, the CRD has received nearly 400 submissions from across Greater Victoria. Although the rate has slowed considerably since the email address was first published in the News, the number continues to grow.

Though some respondents did not specify where they live, more than half of those who did are from either Oak Bay or Saanich. But feedback came from all over the Capital Region, with at least nine of the 13 CRD member municipalities represented.

“I consider the presence of deer in a very urban area to be inappropriate,” wrote Lorna Harris of Oak Bay. “With no predators, this problem is going to increase and become harder to resolve.”

Saanich’s Chris Ball agrees. “We are very much animal lovers and realize that the deer have nowhere to go, but something must be done about the large population before someone gets killed,” she wrote.

Submission topics have been equally varied (see sidebar for more). While many residents cited property damage as their primary concern, others mentioned road safety, deer aggression and health risks such as Lyme disease as support for a management plan.

Some even had their own proposals for solving the deer problem.

“Catch and kill 80 per cent of them, have them professionally butchered and give the meat to the Salvation Army to feed the poor,” wrote Al Patey of Saanich.

There have even been a small number of responses which the CRD categorized as “deer appreciation” –  individuals who oppose most of the popular solutions, including culls and live trapping.

“Man, with all his wisdom and technology, should be able to figure out a way to live in harmony with the deer, not to kill them,” wrote Sharon Palamarek of Colwood.

CRD staff plan to use the feedback to help draft a deer management plan, which will consider several factors.

Among them are the animals’ populations across the region, collision data and the resulting financial implications, relevant solutions from the CRD’s goose management plan, and control measures identified in the B.C. Ministry of Environment’s Urban Ungulate Conflict Analysis Report.

The report is expected early next year.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Some excerpts from residents’ comments received by the CRD on the deer issue:

“This urban area is no place for creatures that belong in the wild.” – Hugh Aitken, Oak Bay

“This neighbourhood is a favourite for dog walkers of all ages. I would hate to see a small child, or an elderly resident injured, or worse, by an angry deer.” – Judy Fox, Saanich

“We are so lucky to be so close to nature in our home. We have a large window in the kitchen and it is like living television to watch them wandering through.” – Edna Austin, Saanich

“They have been here for a couple of years but have never been this bold. … I am afraid one of these times they are going to hurt someone.” – June Cameron, Langford

“The deer problem is like the rabbit problem at UVic. They are cute animals with big eyes that have been Disneyfied so people who don’t have to deal with them can’t consider culling them.” – Andrea Jull, Saanich

“Lack of action merely creates a bigger problem which will ultimately require more drastic action.” – Martin Taylor, Oak Bay

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read