The other side of the deer problem in Greater Victoria

Situation ‘critical’ for Capital Region food producers

One voice has risen above the others in the discussion on deer in the Capital Region.

Until recently, much of the debate over what to do about increasing deer-human conflict has focused on urban areas. But several South Island farmers made it known last week they are in a dire situation of their own, and that they feel the time for talk is over.

“It’s just out of control,” said Ray Galey, owner of Galey Farms in Saanich. “There isn’t any farmer who’s not an environmentalist, but (even though) we all love Bambi, we don’t need 10,000 of them.”

Deer have eaten more of his crops each year, he said, to the point where he’s “given up on the whole point of sustainability.”

In addition, Galey said he’s cutting the amount of farmed acreage back by close to 30 per cent this year as a result. “You can’t have that kind of damage and have anything left for yourself.”

Last week, the Capital Regional District’s planning, transportation and protective services committee recommended that a citizens’ advisory group be formed to devise a regional deer management strategy. Committee members acknowledged the urgent need for action in rural areas.

“There are agricultural and urban aspects of this problem,” said committee vice-chair Vic Derman. “But in the case of the farmers, they’re facing a critical situation.”

Derman’s motion to form two separate groups – one focusing on agricultural concerns, the other on urban deer – was defeated. Nonetheless, the advisory group will be directed to make finding a solution for farmers its top priority.

Some people aren’t sure that’s enough.

“I can’t see how those two issues can be dealt with under the same roof,” said Kelly Carson, a member of DeerSafe Victoria, which is calling for a non-lethal course of action.

While she is pleased to see the CRD seeking citizen input on the issue, Carson is worried about the advisory group’s demographic distribution – area farmers will fill three of the 12 spots.

“(Given) the population of Saanich, how many farmers per capita (are there) in all of Saanich, and why would one person with a small business speak for the rest of the community?” she asked.

Derman hopes that every member of the group will approach the matter objectively.

“We want people (chosen for) the committee almost like in a jury selection,” he said. “They haven’t made up their mind and are willing to consider the information and input from all stakeholders.”

The citizens’ advisory group will include five members from the CRD’s core municipalities, four from the Saanich Peninsula and two from the West Shore, as well as a chair appointed from within.

In addition, an expert resource working group will be established to advise on various biological and policy implications of any potential strategy.

The group will be asked to make recommendations to the CRD board by the end of July.

reporter@vicnews.com

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

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

The It’s Critical campaign has raised $5.89 million towards its $7 million goal to expand critical care capacity at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
Critical care improvements make the list with Greater Victoria shoppers

Save-On-Foods pledges $300,000 to Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s It’s Critical campaign

West Shore Parks and Recreation facilities face a challenging future in terms of funding, due to reduced operations throughout the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore Parks and Recreation faces challenging future

West Shore Parks and Recreation Society submits 2021 budget request to owner municipalities

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Most Read