The other side of the deer problem in Greater Victoria

Situation ‘critical’ for Capital Region food producers

One voice has risen above the others in the discussion on deer in the Capital Region.

Until recently, much of the debate over what to do about increasing deer-human conflict has focused on urban areas. But several South Island farmers made it known last week they are in a dire situation of their own, and that they feel the time for talk is over.

“It’s just out of control,” said Ray Galey, owner of Galey Farms in Saanich. “There isn’t any farmer who’s not an environmentalist, but (even though) we all love Bambi, we don’t need 10,000 of them.”

Deer have eaten more of his crops each year, he said, to the point where he’s “given up on the whole point of sustainability.”

In addition, Galey said he’s cutting the amount of farmed acreage back by close to 30 per cent this year as a result. “You can’t have that kind of damage and have anything left for yourself.”

Last week, the Capital Regional District’s planning, transportation and protective services committee recommended that a citizens’ advisory group be formed to devise a regional deer management strategy. Committee members acknowledged the urgent need for action in rural areas.

“There are agricultural and urban aspects of this problem,” said committee vice-chair Vic Derman. “But in the case of the farmers, they’re facing a critical situation.”

Derman’s motion to form two separate groups – one focusing on agricultural concerns, the other on urban deer – was defeated. Nonetheless, the advisory group will be directed to make finding a solution for farmers its top priority.

Some people aren’t sure that’s enough.

“I can’t see how those two issues can be dealt with under the same roof,” said Kelly Carson, a member of DeerSafe Victoria, which is calling for a non-lethal course of action.

While she is pleased to see the CRD seeking citizen input on the issue, Carson is worried about the advisory group’s demographic distribution – area farmers will fill three of the 12 spots.

“(Given) the population of Saanich, how many farmers per capita (are there) in all of Saanich, and why would one person with a small business speak for the rest of the community?” she asked.

Derman hopes that every member of the group will approach the matter objectively.

“We want people (chosen for) the committee almost like in a jury selection,” he said. “They haven’t made up their mind and are willing to consider the information and input from all stakeholders.”

The citizens’ advisory group will include five members from the CRD’s core municipalities, four from the Saanich Peninsula and two from the West Shore, as well as a chair appointed from within.

In addition, an expert resource working group will be established to advise on various biological and policy implications of any potential strategy.

The group will be asked to make recommendations to the CRD board by the end of July.

Just Posted

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

Songhees Wellness Centre event immersed in indigenous cuisine and culture

Camosun and Songhees cook together for reconciliation while fundraising for student scholarship fund at March 23 event

Victoria Women’s Expo showcases the latest trends

Over 100 vendors feature lots of beauty, health, food, jewelry products and more

Hillside Avenue death ruled a homicide, police say

No charges have yet been laid in the killing of Victoria man Joe Gauthier

Hope gets eight year sentence for Church Avenue sex assault

Eight years is the sentence for David Robert Hope, who was found… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Over 80s leading Victoria’s fitness charge

Go at your own pace, advises 87 year old gym buff

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Lilia Zaharieva wants to share her medical good fortune

UVic student wants treatment for cystic fibrosis made available for all

Saanich Talks event kicks off Local Area Plan updates

Updates on plans for Cadboro Bay and Cordova Bay the focus of Wednesday meeting at UVic

Braves trim Bucs to fend off elimination

Game 7 of VIJHL playoff series goes Sunday night in Nanaimo

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Most Read