Parksville city council asked staff to prepare a bylaw for council’s consideration that would prohibit the feeding of deer within the city.
Councillor Sue Powell had asked staff to “review and provide options for council’s consideration,” in light of the high number of deer in the urban area and the possible negative conflicts and effects.
The report from staff to council says there is no clear idea how many deer are in the area and recommended the first step would be establishing the extent of the issue by doing a proper inventory and a public opinion survey on their perception.
The report also says that neither the RCMP or bylaw enforcement have received direct complaints about the deer.
It says habituation can lead to unsafe interactions, whether with people, pets or automobiles, and that there is property damage, mostly to plants, as well as the possibility of disease transmission.
Last month when the request first came up, conservation officer Stewart Bates told The News they have received 25 complaints about deer in Parksville since April 1, ranging from accidents to “there’s a deer in my yard,” which is about the same as the last few years.
He also agreed that, “The less interaction between humans and wildlife the better, whether it’s with your bumper or feeding them.”
Powell said she supported the motion but would like to see a bylaw prohibiting feeding, which council agreed to and directed staff to prepare. They will also include deer in the next survey they do, along with issues on other animals such as geese.
Frank Leech asked from the audience how the feeding prohibition would be enforced, to which acting mayor Chris Burger said that hopefully having it on the books would put the message out there and begin addressing the problem.