Council passes new deer feeding bylaw

At the regular meeting on Dec. 16, Grand Forks council swapped in a new deer feeding bylaw.

At the regular council meeting on Dec. 16, Grand Forks council passed final reading to repeal bylaw 1884 (old deer feeding bylaw) and replace it with bylaw 1967, which is the new bylaw to prohibit the feeding of deer within the municipal boundary of Grand Forks. Council also passed an amendment to bylaw 1957, the municipal ticketing bylaw.Coun. Michael Wirischagin was the lone dissenter on repealing bylaw 1884, stating it hadn’t been given a proper chance.“I believe that bylaw should have stayed in place,” said Wirischagin. “That was the original deer feeding bylaw that we as a city never gave a fighting chance to. We never got to see if it worked. I was perfectly satisfied with that bylaw.”Both Wirschagin and coun. Patrick O’Doherty voted against bylaw 1967, but the pair were outvoted 4-2. Coun. Cher Wyers was absent.Not only are we not going to be aggressive with the ticketing, said Mayor Brian Taylor, “We’re not even implementing the punitive sections of it. We are implementing the educational program, the discussions and notifications. We’re trying to get into this without running headlong into those people who are feeling passionate about starving deer and want to be out there feeding them. It doesn’t make sense for us to really come at this with a hammer. I think we need to take our time.”With the hiring of the new Wildsafe BC coordinator for Grand Forks, council is hoping to really get the word out about deer and the harm of feeding them before the city starts ticketing deer feeders.“What it will take now is for a motion to come back before council to act on the policies we previously approved for controlling deer feeding,” said Taylor. “You put the bullet in the gun but you’re not going to fire it. We’re respecting the fact that it’s a highly emotional issue in town.”Bylaw 1967 – deer feeding prohibition bylaw – includes:3.1 No person shall provide deer with food, either directly or by leaving or placing in, on or about land or premises food, food waste, or any other material that is or is likely to be attractive to deer for the purposed of feeding deer other than a conservation officer acting in performance of his/her duties, or a person acting under the direction of or with the permission of a conservation officer.3.2 No person shall permit deer to be fed on property he or she occupies as a permanent or semi-permanent place of residence or vacant property.5.1 On receiving a written complaint, the city will write a letter to the offending household requesting that occupiers of the residence cease the feeding of the deer. This letter will specifically outline how the activities of the occupiers of the residence are an offence under the bylaw. 5.2 On receiving additional complaints of the same offending household, the occupiers will be sent a letter requesting their attendance at an open council meeting at which an opportunity will be provided for the occupiers to “show cause” why the bylaw is not being complied with.The amendment to the municipal ticketing bylaw 1957 gives the city the authority to issue tickets as outlined in the bylaw.The amendment includes a schedule of fines. The first offence is $50. A second offence is $100 and a third and any subsequent offences are $150.Council plans on not implementing the actual ticketing portion of the bylaw initially.Air quality – portable nephalometerAt the Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 16, council heard a proposal from Chris Moslin, chair of the Grand Forks Trail Society, suggesting the city looking into partners for purchasing a portable nephalometer.At regular council meeting that evening, council further discussed the issue.“The important thing for me, is that we’re going to sit down with the regional government and talk about it,” said Mayor Brian Taylor. “This recent inversion we had in town is a good example of where the air quality issue extends beyond the boundaries of the city. What we’re doing with that motion was moving to sit with the Area D representative and the RDKB and talk about the nephalometer and air quality issues.”Taylor said the nephalometer would help isolate the source of some of the smoke and particulates causing poor air quality in the area.“We have to ask the RDKB if they are interested in participating in the nephalometer program with us,” said Doug Allin, CAO of Grand Forks. “We’ll be doing a formal request for them.”

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