Peninsula farmers want their say on regional deer strategy

Central Saanich farmer wants district to bring local concerns to CRD table

Deer graze on the Saanich Peninsula.

Deer graze on the Saanich Peninsula.

While the Capital Regional District looks at deer management, farmers in Central Saanich want local government to voice the rural concern.

Peninsula farmer Wendy Fox brought a petition to the district Monday night asking that council speak up on behalf of the farmers.

“It’s come to the point now where it’s a financial hardship for a lot of the farmers on the Peninsula,” Fox said. “There’s a difference between rural dear and urban deer problems. There are probably going to be recommendations that they’re handled in different ways.”

In November, CRD staff were asked to start work on a deer management plan and report back early in the new year. The CRD has heard from many segments of the community including those in agriculture. Most recently members of DeerSafe Victoria asked that they be included in the discussion.

Fox was representing a group of farmers in the region, who met in August to discuss possible solutions to the increasing deer population.

“This is a serious matter that must be dealt with if sustainable farming is to continue on the Saanich Peninsula,” Fox said. “The deer population are threatening the future food chain in the Capital region.”

Central Saanich representatives plan to address the issue during the Feb. 22 CRD committee meeting.

At Coun. Adam Olsen’s suggestion, council will also craft a resolution for Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities to  also request that the province reinstate fence funding as part of an environmental plan for farming.

“It’s at least one step of lobbying that we can do to help farmers take their own steps to mitigate deer,” agreed Mayor Alastair Bryson.