Parksville council mulls rabbit cull

Resident complaints about booming rabbit population has Parksville politicians thinking about their options.

Rabbits beware: Parksville is wondering what to do with an abundance of the critters.

Rabbits beware: Parksville is wondering what to do with an abundance of the critters.

After establishing an admittedly largely symbolic bylaw against feeding deer in March, Parksville city council is wondering what to do with the abundance of rabbits.

The discussion was sparked by a petition received from Jack and Doreen Moore with 51 names asking that “laws be implemented to deal with this problem and the city cull them.”

The petition is specifically about the large population in the area of Foxtail and Ironwood avenues and Strawberry Crescent in the southwest corner of the city off Hirst Avenue, but council agreed they are common in many areas.

The petition points out that the bylaw officer is unable to do anything due to a lack of specific laws.

Mayor Chris Burger pointed out that the issue is complicated by the fact that most of the problem is on private property, plus there could be a protected species of rabbit in the area.

He said he does hear frequent complaints, the biggest concern being digging up yards and trails and fears of a real population explosion.

There have been aggressive measures to deal with feral rabbit populations in some B.C. cities, most notably a mass removal from the University of Victoria (many of which were moved to Coombs, penned and neutered) and a cull in Kelowna.

Councillor Marc Lefebvre proposed a motion to do something about the large population, which was broadened into asking staff to report back on various options.

While no cull has yet been ordered, city council will be debating the issue at upcoming meetings.