Taking advantage of nature’s salad bar, a deer browses among flowers growing on a hillside on Dallas Road, just below the Ross Bay Cemetery on a spring afternoon. The City of Victoria will be looking at ways to potentially fund a deer count. Victoria News file photo

Victoria eyes its own deer population count

Report suggests deer-human conflicts are on the rise

With the number of conflicts between deer and residents on the rise in the Capital Region, Victoria is hoping to learn exactly how many deer are roaming local neighbourhoods.

City staff will look for ways to fund a deer count this year, with help from the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society, as the first step towards creating a deer management strategy – something the city doesn’t currently have.

“Before anyone considers contraception or culling [deer], the first thing is really understanding the problem,” said Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe during a committee of the whole meeting Thursday. “Do we have 30 deer in Fairfield or are we seeing the same deer all the time? We need to do a proper population count to really understand the level of concern.”

RELATED: Esquimalt council exploring options for deer count following survey

According to a staff report, the city only has anecdotal information about conflicts between deer and humans, such as when the animals eat landscape and garden vegetation, leave droppings in yards or collide with motorists. But studies by the province and the CRD suggest they’re on the rise in the region.

Despite the fact deer management is a provincial issue (the B.C. Liberal government allocated $100,000 to five municipalities across the province for conflict/population reduction measures), Victoria councillors agreed something must be done from a municipal and regional level.

“Deer don’t pay attention to the borders, even less so than the residents do. That means, if we’re counting deer in the Gonzales neighbourhood, it must be in partnership with the CRD so we can track deer throughout municipalities,” said Coun. Jeremy Loveday.

Coun. Chris Coleman conducted a personal survey where he called 649 households, asking about sewage treatment in the region, 40 kilometre/hour speed zones and a deer management strategy. Seventy per cent said the city needs a plan to manage deer, even if it involves a cull; 23 per cent said a strategy is not needed and roughly seven per cent were neutral on the topic.

Coleman noted the sense of frustration surrounding deer on social media is building, but was quick to note many residents wouldn’t support a cull.

Victoria isn’t the only municipality dealing with deer problems. Central Saanich and Oak Bay have undertaken deer management initiatives, with funding from the CRD and the province. In December, a Township of Esquimalt survey revealed many residents were willing to pay higher taxes to fund a deer management program.

According to ICBC, there were 77 crashes in Victoria in 2012 that involved deer and 82 in 2013. More recent data was not available to councillors.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

Esquimalt puts freeze on taxes for local businesses

The tax increase for residents sits at 5.51 per cent, averaging to an additional $46

Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Unhappy Tsawout accuse leadership of cultural destruction

Development replacing Fairfield United Church gets final approval

The new Unity Commons Development will take over the space at 1303 Fairfield Rd.

Saanich forwards student-targeted development to public hearing

Proposed development advertises itself to individuals who want a car-free lifestyle

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

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

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

Most Read