For the past month, the Capital Regional District has been offering the public a chance to share their opinions on deer management options, through a series of online forms.
The fourth instalment in the weekly survey, the deadline for which is today (Aug. 1), solicits input on capture and relocation methods and repellants.
For the first three surveys, which solicited feedback on controlled public hunt, sharpshooting, administering immuno-contraceptives to deer, deer-vehicle collision mitigation and public education options, a grand total of 102 responses have been received.
Compare that to the thousands of responses the CRD received when it solicited general public feedback on the issue last year. The huge difference could indicate a couple of things: expecting many people to fill out online forms is unrealistic; and that the public believes the matter is now in the CRD’s hands to deal with, promptly.
The vast majority of the public is not versed in the best repellent methods for discouraging deer or how best to mitigate collisions with the animals. Trying to determine whether people prefer hiring sharpshooters to pick off deer in the dark of night over a controlled public hunt is moot, since it will evoke the same emotions as previous consultations.
The CRD appears to be bending over backwards to further prove that public consultation is being done, through the use of an unwieldy online survey – one that the advisory group can take or leave, according to the group’s stated criteria.
Instead of playing around with optics on this issue, the CRD needs to instruct the advisory group to complete its research, avoid the distraction of further polarized suggestions, and come up with a solution.
The final report, with recommendations on how and whether or not to proceed, is due in September.
We trust that members of the group will have done their due diligence, taken the advice of those in the know and put forward a strategy that people, and the deer left behind, can live with.