Council quiet on urban deer

Penticton’s new city council had no desire to engage with a perennial problem Tuesday during its first real meeting of the term.

The gallery was full of residents of Figueira’s manufactured home park demanding the municipality do something about the urban deer overrunning the seniors-only community.

“Urban deer do not respond to deer proofing,” said resident representative Bob Cartwright, explaining homeowners have been chasing deer from yard to yard for years.

In comments similar to what fellow Figueira’s resident Nick Iannone told Castanet last week, Cartwright said some deer have been living their whole lives, from birth, within park fences.

They are eating shrubs and flowers and making a mess of lawns, he said, adding a survey of the park found 96 of 117 homes want an immediate solution to the problem.

“They [the deer] are residents as we are now,” Cartwright said. “Please don’t tell us we have to cope, this is an issue that's important to us, it affects our health and quality of life and we’d like to see some movement towards a solution.”

Cartwright said they are not seeking a city-wide cull, but some sort of program to deal with the specific Figueira’s population. He pointed out that the park cannot do anything on its own, and needs the municipality to work with the province on a solution.

Councillors were silent in response to the presentation.

Mayor John Vassilaki deferred comment to city manager Peter Weeber when asked by the residents when they could expect a response.

“This is not a new issue. We certainly understand your frustration,” Weeber said. “We do get it from both sides of the community.”

He said the city would follow up with the group and fill them in on “all the things we are looking at.”

“We have capable staff and I’m sure they’ll look at it and come back with some sort of solution,” Vassilaki said. “If need be, we’ll have another meeting or gathering to put all the facts in place.”

The last time a deer capture and cull program was proposed in 2014, the city abandoned the issue due to costs, staff time and public opposition.

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