District deer cull court challenge this week
Question being piggybacked onto Nov. 2 community hall referendum
The District of Invermere will be battling the Invermere Deer Protection Society (IDPS) in Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday and Thursday this week (Oct. 9/10).
The court dates are the following up to the B.C. Supreme Court in May allowing the society’s civil suit against the district to continue. The IDPS charged the district did not consult the public properly before conducting its first cull two years ago.
Noting that other municipalities in the province are watching this court date closely because they are wrestling with the same problem as Invermere, District Mayor Gerry Taft said, “the judge will decide if we consulted properly.”
By taking the district to court, the IDPS states it believes it has saved the lives of dozens of deer.
IDPS president Devin Kazakoff stated on the group’s website, “The District of Invermere planned to kill up to 100 deer between February and March of 2012. The IDPO raised their voice in protest and actively engaged in stopping the killing of the deer in Invermere. We took legal action and delayed the start of the cull through an initial injunction. Although the extension of the injunction subsequently was not successful, we organized protests, engaged the district council and worked tirelessly to save the deer in Invermere.”
The Supreme Court shortly after allowed the group’s civil suit to continue.
“Because of our actions, District of Invermere was able to kill only 19 deer – far short of the 100 targeted. Our direct actions saved 81 deer in Invermere and we all can be very proud of that,” Kasakoff stated.
Despite the court dates looming and an uncertain outcome, the district is taking further steps to learn exactly where its residents stand on urban deer and deer culls.
The district intends to include a public opinion question in its upcoming (Nov. 2) community hall borrowing referendum.
“The second part will get more attention than the first part,” suggested Taft during an Oct. 6 Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors’ meeting. “People have some pretty strong passions for those creatures.”
The Nov. 2 referendum is being held to gauge the stomach Invermere taxpayers have in allowing the district to borrow $5.6 million to go toward the construction of a new community centre and town hall at the old David Thompson Secondary School site.
Taft said it made sense to tack the deer cull question onto the referendum.
“We’ve had a lot of feedback from the limited cull we did have. We are really interested in what the people of Invermere believe,” he said, adding, “This is to get a gut feeling from the residents. We hope it can be resolved through the court system and the vote (question results).”