Sidney Island deer cull will cost taxpayers $12M, CTF says

Click to play video: 'Parks Canada deer cull costs under fire from taxpayer group'
Parks Canada deer cull costs under fire from taxpayer group
WATCH: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Parks Canada is spending $12 million on a controversial deer cull on Sidney Island near Victoria, when hunters could do the same job for free. Paul Johnson reports – May 22, 2024

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is raising concern over the cost of a controversial plan to eradicate a species of deer on a small island in B.C.

The plan by Parks Canada focuses on the European Fallow Deer population on Sidney Island, located between B.C.’s Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The goal of the cull is to restore native vegetation, tree seedlings and shrubs.

According to access to information records, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says a detailed project budget shows it will cost nearly $12 million to carry out a cull of the deer species, which were initially introduced there for hunting purposes in the mid-1900s.

Parks Canada and local First Nations say an estimated 300 to 900 invasive deer are decimating the native ecosystem.

Click to play video: 'Sidney Island deer eradication dividing community'
Sidney Island deer eradication dividing community

Phase one of the operation will reportedly cost more than $800,000, which works out to nearly $10,000 per deer, taking into consideration how many were killed.

Story continues below advertisement

“During phase one of the deer cull, snipers were taken around the island in a helicopter while firing on the deer below,” Carson Binda with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said at a press conference on Wednesday morning. “The expert marksmen from the U.S. and New Zealand only managed to kill 84 deer, 18 of which were the wrong species of deer.

“Parks Canada shouldn’t be flying in foreign snipers to shoot deer from a helicopter,” Binda said in a release. “And if these ‘marksmen’ were really so elite, why did they keep shooting the wrong kind of deer?”

Global News has reached out to Parks Canada for comment.

In a statement on its website, Parks Canada says “methods selected for this project are globally proven and align with internationally recognized principles for ethical wildlife control.

“Parks Canada is adhering to animal handling standards set out by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. In addition, project partners consulted with the BC SPCA throughout project planning and met with the SPCA’s Manager of Wild Animal Welfare to discuss the details of the operation, continuing to share operational details with them for additional review.”

It says representatives from the BC SPCA are present during Phases one and two.

Click to play video: 'Sidney Island deer cull plan draws concern from some residents'
Sidney Island deer cull plan draws concern from some residents

Phase Two of the operation is scheduled to begin in the fall and will involve ground hunting with dogs.

Story continues below advertisement

The Taxpayers Federation said the eradication of the deer could easily be done through recreational hunting and noted that last fall residents of Sidney Island organized a hunt when they killed 54 deer, at no cost to taxpayers.

Sponsored content