Penticton and South Okanagan
Deer cull on back burner
Nov 2, 2013 / 7:58 am
A BC Supreme Court case regarding a deer cull in Invermere has been resolved. The judge ruled the district followed due process.
But the city of Penticton is still holding off on any decisions regarding the controversial issue.
Mayor Garry Litke said at the moment, the city is taking a wait and see attitude and there will be discussion on the matter in the future.
"It is too late for Monday's council meeting, but we need to consider options for the future," he said.
There has also been a decline in the number of complaints coming into the city regarding urban deer, but the mayor said it will be interesting to see if there is a barrage of complaints coming forward now that a decision has been reached in the Invermere lawsuit.
"It was put on the back burner for quite some time, but unless the community tells us there is some urgency, we are not going to drop something and start shooting deer," he said.
Furthermore, Litke said, the whole lawsuit was a major burden for the district of Invermere and taxpayers, being another reason to proceed with caution.
The problem in Invermere began in December of 2011, when the district hired a contractor to move ahead with a cull. A group calling itself the Invermere Deer Protection Society got upset and sued them, claiming emotional trauma from the deer being killed.
According to Invermere Mayor Gerry Taft, he is relieved to not be looking at the lawsuit brought by the society.
"It was a two year long process and it is definitely a relief to have it resolved," he said. "It was very emotional and there were a lot of nasty comments on Facebook, with animal rights groups from all over the world getting worked up."
Furthermore, other communities in BC that have been dealing with the urban deer issue, have been following this closely, he said.
The issue has not reached total closure in Invermere. On Saturday, there will be a referendum, with one of its focuses on the deer cull and whether residents support the cull.
"This is more of a formal vote." he said. "A mandate one way or the other on the direction for the district of Invermere, as well as looking for clear direction from our residents on how to proceed with the deer cull." he said
Taft said he just hopes there is a strong voter turnout, because he doesn't want to keep having this fight.
"This whole issue has been overblown because of outside forces and this is for Invermere people to deal with."
Overall, the cost of the lawsuit was estimated to be between $30,000 and $40,000, and the district is still trying to get the money back from the society.
At this point the judge hasn't decided around costs, said Taft.
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