Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Keeping the border in check; Mule deer and ticks

Keeping the Border in Check

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and thanks to strong voices in the Kootenays — from local officials to everyday citizens — B.C. and Alberta issued a joint statement addressed to residents in both provinces to stay home and not cross the border over the Easter long weekend.

Nothing has changed since then. The threat of COVID-19 spreading into small communities that are unable to handle a sudden influx of visitors still remains great on both sides of the border.

Thanks to you voicing your health and safety concerns, I was able to channel a request from our region directly to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, who in turn contacted his Alberta counterpart, Tyler Shandro, which resulted in the joint statement directing people to stay home and not put seniors and others at risk due to unnecessary travel.

More thanks are also owed to Dr. Bonnie Henry, our provincial health officer, who has been our calm and steady hand and our best chance of getting through this pandemic and who also issued a statement calling on everyone to stay home.

Furthermore, I was able to work with the B.C. government and come to a mutual agreement to restrict camping and motorized recreation (including the use of off-road vehicles) throughout the entire Koocanusa Recreation area, effective now. As you all know, this area is most hardly hit by travellers outside our jurisdiction. The mud bogs are a prime example. These restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

Under normal circumstances, we always welcome our friends, neighbours and family members from outside our small rural communities to come and visit and enjoy all the outdoor recreational opportunities the Kootenays have to offer.

But we have seen how loosening restrictions too early can have devastating results in places like Singapore, where early precautions were highly successful, but gave way to a second wave and more infections when officials relaxed restrictions too soon.

We cannot afford to allow that to happen here, especially after all the work we’ve done as a province to pull together and protect each other.

Tom Shyptika/MLA Kootenay East

Mule deer and ticks

This letter is to inform the citizens of our communities of the potential hazards of residential deer carrying deadly ticks onto your properties.

The following is a true event:

A family moved from Chilliwack BC to Cranbrook in 2018. While the family unpacked their new home their two year old son played in their yard near Gyro Park. The child soon developed a high fever and became seriously ill and lethargic within days. The parents took the child to the hospital, where it was discovered the toddler had a tick and was suffering from Rocky Mountain Tick Fever. Antibiotics were prescribed and the terrified parents were told that it would be another 7 days before medical professionals could say if the small boy would survive. Thankfully the child recovered and lived. These same deer can also carry Lyme disease that can be life threatening as well.

The apartment complex where I live has a large lawn area that at times can have a dozen or more Mule deer on it, bucks, does and fawns.

Another nearby apartment has a problem as well. I shutter to think of the risk when I see small children playing on these grassed areas. The deer urinate and defecate on the lawn, which could also lead to a salmonella infection if carried indoors along with the ticks.

These deer are wild animals that are the responsibility of the B.C. Conservation Department. The provincial government has unloaded the burden of culling onto the municipalities. Some deer have been unsuccessfully collard by contractors. Deer traps are destroyed with very little penalty. This has left city officials to take the heat from the Deer Alliance Group.

Your dogs have to be kept on a leash according to city bylaw. If our dog runs loose and attacks a human or a deer, the dog could face the death penalty. The City of Cranbrook had a permit to cull 60 deer, and again with vandalism of traps only 3 were taken that provided protein for the needy.

Safety and common sense needs to prevail to protect you, your children, your grandchildren and mans best friend.

Sincerely

Brian Kostiuk/Cranbrook