The City is punting a petition requesting deer traps in a local gated community to provincial authorities, citing the senior government’s responsibility for managing urban wildlife in municipalities.
The petition, which includes 66 signatures from residents in the gated neighbourhood of Terra Lee Terrace, requests the placement of deer traps within the strata in response to “persistently aggressive deer.”
According to a letter signed by Duane Yearous, the strata president, resident concerns include “too many deer, residents being stalked and attacked, pets attacked with one dog having been killed, owners afraid to go out of their homes, aggressive deer, a granddaughter being chased more than once, dog owners unable to walk their dogs inside of our gates, not to mention continued property damage by the deer and the risk of disease.”
Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt suggested the petition be forwarded to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, as managing urban wildlife falls under a provincial mandate. Councillor Wayne Price also recommended sending the petition to the province for review.
Additional municipal correspondence included a letter from Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka, who requested a meeting with city council to find a solution to managing urban deer. Shypitka stated his goal is to develop and present a joint strategy to forests minister Katrine Conroy for her review.
“This problem is not going to go away and will continue to plague us until it is addressed and needs participation from several levels of government,” wrote Shypitka. “Currently, the only option the province has made available is for residents to call the RAPP Line which is intended to deal with ‘aggressive deer complaints,’ not the overall urban deer situation.”
Urban deer management in Cranbrook — and other communities in the province — has been a contentious issue over the last decade. Typically, deer culls have been the only management option sanctioned by the province, which issues a wildlife permit allowing municipalities to conduct those programs.
However, in recent years, urban deer culls in Cranbrook have been marked by protests while clover traps have been vandalized and destroyed. Last year, the city stopped any municipal efforts to manage urban deer, shifting the onus to the province and highlighting concerns with the potential spread of Chronic Wasting Disease.