Councillor discusses deer problem with Ministry of Forestry at UBCM

Sure, they're cute and usually tame. But deer in Grand Forks have become more and more of a menace, chewing up trees and gardens.

At least deer are courteous and cross at the light in Grand Forks.

Sure, they’re cute and usually tame. But deer in Grand Forks have become more and more of a menace, chewing up trees and gardens. That’s not even mentioning the growing hazard for automobile drivers who must keep a vigilant eye on the side of the road while driving, lest one dart in front of their vehicle.Grand Forks Coun. Gary Smith was one of several councilors who attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Vancouver on Sept. 16-19.Smith, who heads the city’s deer committee, met with Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, to discuss the deer problem.”We don’t want to find ourselves in similar situations as other communities such as Invermere and Cranbrook, where they’re meeting with resistance to their methods with dealing with their urban deer issue,” said Smith.”We also wanted to find out the plans behind their urban management plan. We were also looking for support from the ministry in terms of legal issues that might arise as we move forward with our plans.” Smith said Grand Forks is looked at as a model by other communities for their progressive methods towards dealing with deer.Some of the methods the city has employed includes monitoring and counting deer, and educating the public. A Grand Forks version of WildSafeBC is also ready to start, he said. “So we were looking for the support from the ministry to assist us in that,” Smith said.But it’s a challenge to stand out when so many municipalities are making pitches to various government ministries.The city had 15 minutes to make their case, and the minister listened. Smith said Thomson knew Grand Forks had been working hard at coming up with a plan for dealing with urban deer, and pledged to help as much as they could.Smith said it was important for the city, whether asking for help with deer or anything else, to show they were capable of standing on their own.”Rather than just come there with our hats in hand, we want to demonstrate that we’re a vital and functioning community … and that we have done a lot of the preliminary work,” he said.

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