The City of Cranbrook is requesting the province step in with a plan to manage the local urban deer population. Barry Coulter photo.

The City of Cranbrook is requesting the province step in with a plan to manage the local urban deer population. Barry Coulter photo.

City demands province step in to manage urban deer population

The province needs to step in with a plan to manage Cranbrook’s urban deer population, says city council.

Cranbrook mayor Lee Pratt demanded the province take action in a letter to Minister Katrine Conroy, the forestry minister responsible for managing the province’s wildlife.

“I am again requesting on behalf of Council and staff that a plan to manage the urban deer population in the City of Cranbrook be created and conducted by the Province now,” Pratt wrote. “The silence and lack of action is completely unacceptable.”

In the letter, Pratt cited concerns from local resident complaints over deer aggression against people and pets, which include being chased or bluff-charged while on walks or in private yards.

“Our residents have made it clear that the problem is not going to go away by ignoring it,” Pratt wrote.

The city recently received a petition from a gated community, Terra Lee Terrace, requesting deer traps be placed in the neighbourhood in response to urban deer complaints.

READ: Cranbrook punts neighbourhood petition for deer traps to province

The city received the petition for information, but will not take any action to manage the urban deer, as it is considered a provincial responsibility and any urban deer management program requires provincial approval.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Kootenay-East MLA Tom Shypitka, said he has been working with the opposition BC Liberal Caucus to get the issue more profile in the legislature.

“This is something that’s been going back and forth for a long time,” Shypitka said, noting he faced the same issue as a city councillor before stepping into provincial politics. “It wasn’t too long ago I sat in those chairs in the chamber hearing about the same issues.

“And it seems to be this perpetual back and forth and it really is frustrating; I know it is for the city. I totally sympathize with the communication or lack of communication from government on trying to resolve this and trying to be more realistic about how we manage our deer or wildlife populations as they come into municipalities or municipalities come into them. It goes both ways.”