Deer control bylaw has limited use

The less interaction there is between humans and animals, the better for everyone

Parksville city council gave the first nod to a bylaw prohibiting deer feeding, sending it to the next council meeting for the first of three readings.

Councillor Peter Morrison asked how useful this would be if they don’t have the resources to enforce it and whether it only came up from squabbling neighbours.

Coun. Bill Neufeld agreed and said there is so much vegetation around there’s no way to stop deer. He added this bylaw goes too far in trying to manage residents’ actions.

Coun. Sue Powell, who introduced the motion, said it originally came from at least one specific situation where someone was putting buckets of food out for deer. It turned out there was nothing the city could do about it.

Mayor Chris Burger admitted “the city has very limited bylaw resources,” but suggested having the law on the books would be the first step in encouraging people to stop.

He said council will require a bigger conversation about about bylaw enforcement priorities and funding.

“The less interaction between humans and wildlife the better, whether it’s with your bumper or feeding them,” conservation officer Stewart Bates has told The News.

He said while urban deer look tame, they are wild animals that, among other issues can be aggressive with people and dogs when protecting their young and can draw in cougars.

Experts also point to the damage they can do to property and possibility of disease transmission.

Bates said the best thing to do is scare deer away and make your yard unappealing, adding anti-feeding bylaws, like in Nanaimo, can be a useful step in reducing human-deer conflicts.

The bylaw is meant as the first step in studying how big an issue deer are and starting to look at further options.

The proposed fine would be $100 and is being considered along with updating many of the city’s fines.