Grand Forks residents may finally be seeing solution to the problem of urban deer after the city was awards a matching fundsgrant for a deer cull.
According to a provincial press release, Grand Forks is one of four municipalities that have been approved for the funding. Theother communities are Cranbrook, Elkford, and Inveremere. Inveremere and Elkford will be undertaking culls, whileCrankbrook is receiving $19,900 to study deer relocation.
The grants are part of the Provincial Urban Deer Cost-Share Program, which was commitment from the provincial governmentat the Union of B.C. municipalities in 2015. The program offers matching funds for municipalities struggling with urban deerpopulations. Grand Forks received $16,000 to cull 80 deer, and depending on the number of deer culled, would match$16,000.
The highly charged and emotional topic of a deer cull has been an issue in Grand Forks for years. In 2014, the question of adeer cull was asked on the municipal election ballot. The City also formed a deer committee, which was tasked with studyingthe issue. It found that population was drastically increasing in Grand Forks, and recommended a cull.
A permit was issued for the deer cull last year in Grand Forks, which states that the goal is to bring the deer population tp the2007 level, requiring a cull of 80 deer. However, Delores Sheets, Manager of Development and Engineering with the City, saidthat is the maximum allowble and the actual cull may be lower depending on weather and wildlife behaviour. There iscurrently no timeline for when the cull may occur.
The deer cull permit also states that deer meat will be used by those in need.
The program grants as much as $20,000 per community. The rate for the cull is set at $200 per deer in the Interior and $300per deer on the coast.
“Interior deer are less expensive to cull because winters are cold in the Interior, there is less food available and deer are morewilling to come to baits,” the release states.
Proposals for the project were submitted on Oct. 26. A fifth community, Oak Bay, is currently being considered for funding.The community’s proposal focuses on the use of immuno-contraceptive drugs that will prevent deer from reproducing.According to the release, ministry staff are working with the community on this “complex undertaking” to ensure it is done ina safe and humane way.
The City of Grand Forks said in a press release the cull will reduce deer populations to the 2007 level in the city.
“A wildlife biologist will be contracted to give input into this phase of deer management and to help to further develop a long-term management plan. The City is committed to pursuing this project with a commitment to public safety and humanepractices.
According to the press release, a “significant majority” of city residents approved a deer cull when it was posed on the 2014municipal election ballot. City staff have removed “two dozen dead and wounded deer from City roads this year.” Former chairof the deer committee Gary Smith said 60 per cent of votes cast were in favour of a deer cull.
“By reducing the density of urban deer, the City will be able to consider all long-term management options,” the releasestates.