Grand Forks deer in danger of council management

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
November 18th, 2010

Grand Forks residents want a practical approach to deer management that is a long-term solution and doesn’t cost taxpayers, say the results of the deer survey released this week. While the results indicate a large majority in favour of a substantial decrease (53 percent) in the herd size within city limits, people don’t want it to be at the cost of animal suffering or with any risk to humans. But council should not spend much money to do any of the actions that were voted for: 41 percent of the over 300 respondents told council not to spend more than $1000 on mitigation.   City Councillor Chris Moslin has been a key member of the deer committee since its inception. Moslin said the he feels the survey accomplished its main goal: to demonstrate to the provincial authorities that the council has the support of the residents to take action regarding deer.   “The reason we did the survey is that we were supposed to demonstrate public support for management action,” said Moslin. “We’ve done that. At UBCM we put the message in at the top of the pipe (provincial government), and here at this level we’ve put the message in at the bottom of the pipe, so we’re hoping something will come out of this. Meanwhile I don’t think there’s going to be any immediate action.”   Mayor Brian Taylor, chair of the deer committee, was not surprised by the responses from the locals. Taylor said that the survey gives them clear direction that the community wants action taken, but that the exact actions are not clear. Taylor also had a sense that the wording of the survey was not conducive to input from people who do not want to manage the deer herds.   “It followed the pattern of all the other surveys that we’ve been looking at,” said Taylor. “The part that alarmed me the most was our lack of credibility with deer supporters. I think we could have look at that a little closer in the wording and structure of it and given more opportunity for the people who didn’t see a problem and don’t see a need to do any of this an opportunity to express themselves.”   While some surveys were completed by people who do not live in the city limits, most of the respondents are constituents and have lived in the city for over 20 years (47 percent). The largest area of concern was the high incidence of vehicle collisions with deer (17 percent), with damage to property being the second highest concern (16 percent).   Comments were also compiled from the survey and these indicated that many people don’t want to bother the deer – they would rather cull the council.   “There’s an implied threat, I know the Mayor’s been threatened,” said Moslin. “It invokes that much passion. I do want to point out to the electorate though that every three years they do get a chance to cull the council!”

 To review the survey results click on the attached document.