City applying to line up another cull permit
By Ian Cobb
City of Cranbrook council last night gave the okay to administrative staff to apply for a Wildlife Permit for the purpose of culling city deer.
Council’s decision followed review of the Urban Deer Management Advisory Committee (UDMAC) recommendation to make an application to the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for a 2016 permit.
The UDMAC met on Wednesday, April 20, to discuss an earlier referral from council.
City staff advised the committee during that meeting that the process to apply for a permit is a simple task to complete. The MFLNRO traditionally waives the application fee for the municipality. Staff also advised the committee that once a permit is acquired by the city, there is no obligation to use it. There is no deadline to apply.
“If council chose at a later date to proceed with urban deer population management under the terms of the permit, council can reasonably expect to see a cost of approximately $494 per animal. Under the current budget, $17,000 has been set aside for management operations which translate into the removal of up to 34 animals,” a city report to council outlined.
The UDMAC meeting also included a presentation from Ian Adams of VAST Resource Solutions, who provided an overview of the recently completed East Kootenay Urban Deer Translocation trial and some of the very early results.
“Adams advised that it would be quite some time before VAST would be able to complete a final report on the translocation trial for the province and create a translocation management checklist and operations plan for municipalities to potentially use,” the report to council stated.
“Adams was very clear to the committee that even if the translocation trial is ultimately deemed a success, the province still must change the legislation in the Wildlife Act in order for translocation to be available as a possible management tool for municipalities in the future.
“Euthanization is still the only legal tool made available by the province for municipalities to deal with their urban deer herds,” the report said.
The committee was unanimous in its recommendation to apply for a Wildlife Permit.
However, city council was not.
Coun. Danielle Cardozo was the lone vote against the recommendation, while other councilors expressed hope in translocation becoming “another tool in the shed,” as Coun. Isaac Hockley said.
Coun. Norm Blissett stated she hoped the public realized this decision was being made in an open council meeting.
“This isn’t a secret – this is a public meeting where we are asking (the provincial government) to cull deer in 2016,” she said, adding she is also hopeful that translocation becomes an option.
Cardozo enquired about the volume of complaints being received by the city concerning urban deer.
Mayor Lee Pratt said the city has received two letters from School District No. 5 regarding school yard and zone safety.
City communications director Chris Zettel said the number of complaints is “fairly low” but the end of May and start of June (fawning season) “is when the aggressive complaints jump significantly.”
Pratt told council not to hold its breath on the use of translocation to control urban deer numbers.
“We could be three years before we get the results from that (translocation study and government legislation change),” he said, adding the city can’t sit back and wait.