Deer issue relocates to council

Heather Caron has spent every day for the last two weeks at the Penticton library researching the issue of deer relocation.

On Monday, she plans to present her findings to the city council at their regular meeting.

In early February, the council elected to go with a pilot program that entails relocating the deer from the city to Penticton Indian Band lands.

"I am concerned about this, because number one it isn't going to solve the problem for the money it is costing and it still seems like a cull," said Caron. "They can be hunted 365 days of the year and there is no food there, because the wild horses have eaten it all."

Caron, a teacher, said she was initially concerned a few years ago when the city started talking about culling the deer.

Being from a big city back east, she enjoyed seeing the deer around Penticton, she said.

"It was a novelty seeing them roaming around, so when I heard about the cull I got upset," she said.

She wrote letters to the editor, and then everything went quiet because the city said they were going to do a count and came back and said there were no quantitative numbers, she said.

They were then waiting for the outcome of the Invermere court case on the matter, she said.

"I didn't hear anything for  a year and thought the issue had died because people said the count was small," she said. "And then in recent months, the papers started reporting Mayor Garry Litke had talked to Chief Jonathan Kruger, and he was complaining he would go hunting and there were no deer and Litke apparently said we've got a deer problem so why don't we transport the deer from the city to the band lands, specifically Marron Valley. So I started writing letters again."

On Monday, she plans to present facts, data and questions  about the deer relocation and alternatives she believes need to be considered.

Among them that the trauma, disorientation and injury that can occur in the transfer is inhumane and does not serve as a permanent solution to the concerns, the deer left behind can breed, fawns separated from their mother will die, as other does treat them cruelly, and economically deer are a tourist attraction.

The city has been dealing with the urban deer management issue since the middle of 2011. Most recently, it awaited the outcome of the court case involving the District of Invermere and the Invermere Deer Protection Society.

The decision allowed communities to continue on with their respective urban deer strategies and community based processes.

At the early February meeting, the council approved a request for proposals to relocate the deer, but they required any applicant to meet all ministry guidelines and regulations. The budgeted cost for this is $15,000.

"I share the concern about it being inhumane, and the provincial ministry will give us guidance on that question and would only approve it, if they determined it to be humane," said Councillor Wes Hopkin.




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