Birth control back on the table for deer

Oak Bay plans to pursue provincial funding to contract out work on the local deer population

After slashing funds tentatively allocated for deer management earlier this year, Oak Bay plans to pursue provincial funding to contract out work on the local ungulate population.

Coun. Tara Ney sprung the motion Monday that Oak Bay submit an application to the BC Ministry of Lands, Forest, and Natural Resource Operations for matching funds of up to $20,000 to contract with the Urban Wildlife Stewardship Society to develop and implement a deer reduction plan using fertility control.

“This solution to implement a immune contraception program will undo the log jam at council, and the community can be assured that the deer population will be managed,” Ney said after the meeting. “The survey showed that the community was divided around a cull and that there is no social license to carry out a lethal intervention to reduce deer. Managing the deer population with fertility control allows us to get past the ‘urban versus nature’ divide.”

Her motion, and the timing, hinge on the Nov. 22 deadline for matching funds from the ministry – up to $20,000 for a community undertaking urban deer management projects. Ney found support from Coun. Eric Zhelka who anticipates managing deer in a “relatively conflict-free way.”

Coun. Michelle Kirby, who usually contends the deer are the province’s responsibility, also supported the motion.

“I would support this effort because I don’t see the province is making any effort to control their herd,” she said. “I see it as our only option, trying to make a plan the community can be less divided over.”

She expects, however, that despite the contracting out it will utilize some staff time.

“This will be more money,” she said. “I would be loathe to see our strategic plan be drowned by this.”

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite posted the lone vote against the motion.

“I don’t believe it’s something we’ve agreed to as a council yet … what control we use hasn’t been decided,” Braithwaite said, referring to the contraception plan. “This trumps the process we normally follow.”

Councillors Tom Croft and Kevin Murdoch were not at the meeting Monday night and council has, in the past, deferred items to be decided as a full contingent.

“I don’t think that would change the numbers,” said Jensen.

He suggested council have the UWSS proposal come before council Monday night.

UWSS was “very pleased” with the movement toward their plan for deer management, says society president Kristy Kilpatrick.

“Tara Ney really deserves credit for recognizing that there’s an issue in our community that we can resolve by working together and she has put a lot of effort into finding common ground,” Kilpatrick said. “The deadline for the provincial application for a cost-share project  is Nov. 22, and council needs it prior to that, so there is lots to do.”

Council declined a portion of that plan, a deer attitudes survey, earlier this year. They also voted to remove a tentative $30,000 allotted for deer management in 2016 during the spring budgeting process – leaving a $10,000 rollover amount.

“We’ve had a plan in place for over a year but it now has to be pulled together,” Kilpatrick said. “Once we have all the many pieces in place we’ll be sharing the details. Our goal is to be very open and ensure the community is kept informed of the various steps in this process – community engagement along with partnerships is an important component of urban deer management.”

The motion passed 4-1 with Braithwaite opposed.

“A fertility control program provides an opportunity for Oak Bay to be a leader in urban wildlife management,” Ney said. “People in Oak Bay have said they want effective control of the deer population, and they wish to live in unison with nature. We are funding a plan that will manage the deer population in an urban setting while respecting community values.”

Council meets Monday at 7 p.m. at municipal hall, 2187 Oak Bay Ave.

 

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

Just Posted

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VIDEO: Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

Victoria police will be making numerous arrests throughout the day Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Victoria police’s #WarrantWednesday makes 11 arrests and counting

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

A tip from the public helped Victoria police located and arrest wanted men Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Tips lead police to arrest convicted killer, robber near downtown Victoria

Two men were at large after failing to return to community facility

Police are warning people of flu shot and vaccination frauds. (Black Press Media file photo)
Flu shot fraud charges West Shore resident for non-existent appointments

Fraudulent email claimed to be from London Drugs

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in Juan de Fuca Strait

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

(Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
The Pachena Bay shoreline in 2013. (Twitter/Ateachersaurus)
This week in history: 9.0 magnitude quake struck under what is now called Vancouver Island

According to First Nations elders, the 9.0-magnitude quake in 1700 CE kick-started a tsunami

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 Jan. 26

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

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

Health officials planning new measures to ensure people verify where they live before inoculation

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

Most Read