Province commits $100,000 to urban deer issue in B.C.

The province announced on Sept. 24 at the UBCM that they would provide up to $100,000 for future urban deer management operations.

Rural communities in British Columbia such as Grand Forks will be getting some money from the provincial government to help with the deer issue.

The province announced on Sept. 24 at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) that they would provide up to $100,000 for future urban deer management operations as well as strike a committee to help at the urban deer issue.

“The opportunity to cost-share with the province on managing resident deer is a commitment that communities B.C.-wide have sought and worked towards for years,” said Gary Smith, chair of the Grand Forks Deer Committee. “One hundred thousand dollars a year is a great start, as is the formation of the Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee.”

The recommendations from the UBCM flowed from an initial meeting with the province at an Urban Deer Workshop in January, which laid the groundwork for an increased awareness and understanding of policy, legislation, regulation and best practices in urban deer management.

Participants at the workshop, which included Grand Forks councillor Chris Hammett, who sits on the local Deer Committee as the council representative, also agreed to create an advisory committee with both provincial and municipal representation to work together on urban deer management.

The break down of the $100,000 has not been presented yet. But the money will go towards approved urban deer management and research projects.

“The creation of an urban deer advisory committee will help ensure greater collaboration between municipalities and the government of B.C. and provide the resources necessary for communities to make informed choices about how to resolve urban deer issues,” said Steve Thompson, minister of Forests, Lands and Nature Resource Operations, in a press release.

At the July 20 regular council meeting, council received a report from the Deer Committee and authorized the committee to commence obtaining a special permit with the intention of harvesting up to 80 deer within the city. There has been no final decision yet as to if Grand Forks will conduct a cull.

“Some citizens have suggested relocation, fertility control or hazing as alternatives to a deer cull; however, the science does not support these methods as effective,” said Smith. “In January, the provincial government issued a fact sheet that outlined why those alternatives are unsuccessful.”

Smith said there are currently seven deer with radio collars still attached to them from the deer collaring program.

“With almost a years worth of data it is clear that the local population has a very limited range,” he said.