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Posted: October 12, 2011

Invermere seeks members for public deer committee

The East Kootenay has been handed a new kind of fame the past few years because of deer/human conflicts.

The famous YouTube video of the mother deer wailing on an innocent old dog, shot in the City of Cranbrook, became a virally-viewed hit. It also neatly showed the potential danger ‘sweet’ deer can pose to human, and canine, society when it comes to fearing for their young.

The City of Cranbrook has received the go-ahead from the provincial government to conduct a cull on problem deer in the city, becoming the first community in British Columbia to get such permission.

The City of Kimberley continues to wrestle with its urban deer problem (pictured), which is equal or worse than Cranbrook’s in terms of numbers of deer per square kilometre.

The District of Sparwood is contemplating ways to deal with urban deer problems.

The City of Grand Forks, west of Castlegar, is also taking steps beyond talking to deal with problem deer.

Deer wait for main street Invermere folks to clear out of the way before cutting and running from shelter beside Angus McToogle's last winter.And not to be outdone is the District of Invermere, which Oct. 11 approved the creation of an Urban Deer Advisory Committee.

District chief administrative officer Chris Prosser said the formation of such a committee came from a recommendation in the Urban Deer Committee Management Report.

“It’s a key recommendation,” he said, explaining the perceived committee will be a five-member “arm’s length committee. Purely advisory in nature,” he told council.

In taking the step, Invermere would join Cranbrook, Kimberley, Sparwood and Grand Forks in leading the way in the province in dealing with urban deer.

Council unanimously agreed with the recommendation.

“This is going to be a really challenging committee,” admitted Coun. Ray Brydon, “but it’s something the public wants badly.”

Mayor Gerry Taft said he is hopeful that people in the community who have expertise or strong interest “in urban wildlife issues” will become involved in the committee and provide some research to aid in the ongoing issues with urban deer. District staff and elected officials don’t have the answers, he said.

“This is a case where we need assistance from citizens,” Taft said, while admitting, “ultimately, the final decision will be up to the District of Invermere, and ultimately we need permission from the province to do whatever we need to do.”

The district has also taken the time to consider the best practices in other North American communities, he said.

Coun. Spring Hawes said a “broader” citizen’s committee would serve the best purpose and Coun. Al Miller said, “Most people will argue we’re not moving fast enough.”

The district is now seeking five residents to serve on its newly-formed Urban Deer Advisory Committee.

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

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