Deer meeting yields more decisions to make

Oak Bay closer to determining its strategy, says mayor

What has at least 200 legs and 33 open mouths? The turnout for a discussion on deer in Oak Bay.

More than 100 people, 33 of whom spoke, attended Oak Bay’s special committee of the whole meeting June 12 regarding the Capital Regional District’s Regional Deer Management Strategy.

The meeting was in response to the CRD’s request, last spring, that council provide a response to 10 suggestions made around possible implementation of the strategy. Those requests were brought to a heated discussion at the meeting, which provided an opportunity for further public input.

“There are, of course, many different views on the issue, but everyone is supportive of this [consultation] process,” Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said. “I do think we are in a position now to make some decisions.”

Following the input, council is expected to make its decision tonight (June 24) on a number of the requests.

Strategies the CRD has looked at include pursuing fencing subsidies, improving public education around deer and the use of repellent, devising aggressive-deer protocols, changing public hunting regulations, enhancing the First Nations harvest, pursuing a catch-and-euthanize approach, refining road signage and speed limits, tracking deer-related complaints and formalizing participation in a Regional Deer Management Strategy oversight committee.

One speaker, Susan Vickery of EARS Sanctuary in Coombs, advocated for and shared her efforts in testing out an immuno-contraceptive on her own herd of 40 rescued deer. Vickery offered sanctuary for some of the University of Victoria rabbits during its campus-wide cull in 2011.

In three weeks, Vickery was able to raise $80,000 in support funds for the rabbits and offered her services to now help find sponsors for the non-lethal contraceptive shots.

“There are a handful of people who would like to see all the deer gone and a handful of people who would like to see them all stay,” she said. “But most of us are looking for that middle ground where we can recognize everyone’s needs – our gardeners, farmers, children and the deer – and find the tools to co-exist.”

Jensen says part of the problem is that the deer have no natural predators in the area, save cars. While the CRD has no official numbers on how many deer currently live in the region, the district has seen an “explosion” of deer complaints in the last decade, and public works crews in Oak Bay have tracked the numbers of carcasses they’ve had to collect through accidents. Three dead deer were taken to Hartland Landfill in 2007, none were found in 2008, 2012 saw 23 removed and crews have removed 11 bodies in 2013 so far.

“Mostly what we’ve heard is a general need for action,” Jensen said. “And what people are saying is that deer are not meant to be urban animals.”

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

Just Posted

Saanich mayor joins fight to protect local wildlife from rat poisoning after second owl dies

Mayor Fred Haynes to meet with provincial, federal pest control industry representatives

Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

Sidney fire responds to fewer but more severe calls during pandemic

Rise in severity linked to changes in routine during COVID-19 pandemic

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read