April 3, 2019 4:39 pm
Updated: April 3, 2019 8:51 pm

‘I think it’s terrible’: Penticton mobile home park residents upset after city shoots down calls for deer cull

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A group of seniors who spearheaded a campaign calling for an urban deer cull in Penticton, B.C., is disappointed that city council voted against the proposal on Tuesday.

Robert Cartwright, a resident of the Figueiras Mobile Home Park on Yorkton Avenue, said urban deer are wreaking havoc by damaging landscaping and littering yards with excrement.

“Generally, they are a nuisance,” he told Global Okanagan on Wednesday.

“They are what we call resident deer; they feel like they belong in this park. There is nothing you can do to discourage them from coming in, and I would suggest that a cull is the only answer,” he said.

WATCH (November 2018): ‘They’re not going to leave on their own’ — Penticton neighbourhood requests deer cull


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Cartwright and another neighbour approached city council in November to request a deer cull, noting that funding is available from the provincial government.

It prompted a review by city staff, who ultimately recommended the city keep the status quo.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s conservation office wants a ban on spiked fences after 10 deer impaled

The city’s current deer management strategy supports public education on deer repellent and conflict-avoidance strategies instead of relocation or extermination.

The report noted failed attempts in the past to remove deer from problem locations, as high costs and licensing requirements resulted in previous city councils abandoning the plan.

In 2014, staff looked at the capture and relocation of deers to Penticton Indian Band lands, however the price of relocation was over $1,000 per deer.

Staff also looked at how other B.C. communities have coped with the proliferation of urban deer.

The report notes the communities of Cranbrook, Invermere, Grand Forks and Kimberly have very robust deer-management approaches with dedicated staff and functioning committees directing deer counts and yearly culls.

READ MORE: New study looking into restoring some of B.C.’s declining mule deer populations

“The issue in those communities is, arguably, a much greater concern than in Penticton, whereas our deer count identified 49 deer,” the report states.

On Tuesday, council voted 5-2 in favour of supporting staff’s recommendation to continue to focus on public education rather than a cull.

“The whole process, as far as I’m concerned, was just a sham,” said Cartwright.

“They used old information saying the deer count was 49. That was several years ago. We almost have that many in the park here.”

Cartwright said residents feel they have been ignored and left to fend for themselves.

WATCH (November 2017): Kelowna residents fed up with deer propose cull

“Obviously, they wanted to throw us a bone, say we had a meeting, public input and then send to council something quite contradictory to what we thought they were going to,” Cartwright said.

“I disagree with their stance on it,” said park resident Mark Billesberger of council’s decision.

“I think it’s terrible. They should work with us in some manner,” added park resident Ray Leadbeater.

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki said he understands residents’ frustrations and was in the minority when he voted against accepting staff’s recommendation to keep the status quo.

READ MORE: Okotoks asks residents to help count deer using free app

“I would have seen us do something about it. I would have liked to have put a committee in place with some professional people,” he said.

“It’s not only danger to automobiles and other traffic problems that we might have, but they’ve taken over portions of some of our parks, and it is not safe enough for kids to attend those parks and have fun.”

As for next steps, the mobile-home park residents said they will discuss their options and may take extreme measures in order to be heard.

“Maybe we can herd the deer down to city hall, maybe we can pick up deer droppings and deposit them on the steps up there so they can see what kind of issue it is,” Cartwright said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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