Deer management issue driving wedge through community

Oak Bay appears to be the petrie dish for an urban deer cull, the first undertaken in Canada

As a veteran municipal councillor who served nine years in two different communities, I’ve never seen such a divisive community issue as urban deer management in Oak Bay.  The topic continues to generate an unprecedented volume of letters to the editor and ongoing media coverage.

I was on Oak Bay council when the Capital Regional District’s Deer Management Strategy was adopted in 2013.  While I voted to support a pilot project, I was the only councillor who voted for an option that would have provided Oak Bay council more local control over the pilot together with ongoing public consultation and systematic assessment of results as each stage of the strategy was completed.  In my experience, as a pilot program unfolds, good management requires making adjustments based on changing conditions, new information and impact.

Even Oak Bay residents who support a deer cull have recently expressed concern and embarrassment to me about how our municipality’s reputation is being portrayed.  Media and politics continue to overshadow what should have been a well-planned and managed public process, supported by science, evidence and community consultation.  Instead, our residents have largely been educated through the press and outside organizations.

During the municipal election last fall,  I suggested taking the time to evaluate the pilot for its effectiveness and efficacy and forming a strategic partnership with Victoria and Saanich, neighbouring communities with their own populations of urban deer.  I argued that culling 25 deer inside Oak Bay borders alone would not be effective, from either a cost or animal control perspective.

I asked for an accurate deer count for Oak Bay, research on migratory patterns from Saanich, and a reduction of speed limits on Cadboro Bay and Cedar Hill X Roads where there are the highest deer/vehicle conflicts according to CRD and ICBC accident statistics.  I called for proper signage on these major traffic corridors, consistent with provincial Ministry of Transportation standards, i.e. large yellow flashing signs clearly warning of the deer hazard in and around Uplands Golf Course and on other major roads.  Such key elements of the deer management strategy appear to be still missing from Oak Bay’s pilot program.

We have recently learned that even though a request for proposal has been issued, and a culling contractor has to be “trained,” there are actually viable humane options now available for controlling urban deer.  Equally concerning is that it is questionable that the CRD and Oak Bay have the staffing capacity to adequately manage or evaluate a deer cull pilot in an urban, compact community such as Oak Bay.  How are property owners and residents kept informed while the cull is underway, how are traps monitored and what are the benchmarks to make sure that the cull is humane and effective?

Oak Bay appears to be the petrie dish for an urban deer cull, the first undertaken in Canada.  Will our municipal staff, council and the CRD be prepared to manage issues arising during and after the cull and will our taxpayers know exactly what the direct and indirect costs are of this cull and any planned for the future? And why isn’t the immunocontraceptive alternative being given serious consideration?  Until these questions are fully explored and answered, Oak Bay and the CRD have not completed the due diligence that is absolutely necessary before a cull takes place.

Cairine Green


Oak Bay



Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

With local high schoolers unable to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, Amica Douglas House celebrated the momentous occasion of eight of their dining room servers. (Courtesy Amica Douglas House)
8 Greater Victoria teens don fancy dresses, celebrate grad with seniors

With celebrations nixed, Amica Douglas House hosts event for its serving staff

Helicopter crew members onboard HMCS Halifax conduct inflight refueling during Operation Reassurance in the Mediterranean Sea in 2020. Some of the military choppers flying around Greater Victoria recently are taking part in a special ops training exercise. (Photo by Cpl. Braden Trudeau/Trinity-Formation Imaging Services)
Special Ops exercise brings influx of helicopters to Victoria

Ontario-based air force unit comes to Victoria to train over ocean

(Black Press Media file photo)
School parking problems plague Oak Bay residents

Need exceeds official requirements for parking at St. Michaels school

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

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

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read