Letter to the Editor: Community over conflict

I have watched our community grapple with the issue of urban deer with dismay.

Dear Editor,

I have watched our community grapple with the issue of urban deer with dismay. It’s a difficult issue, and people have a wide range of opinions about the deer, but it is sad that so much energy is being used to write angry letters, bash the process, and demonize and vilify each other. This negative emotion is not moving us towards solutions, but instead milking resources (time and money) away from dealing with the issue itself.

This is a small place; we know each other. Council members were not elected based on glossy campaigns or showboating, but because people knew us well enough to feel comfortable voting for us. It is time to move past the rhetoric, acknowledge the issues we are confronted with, and come together.

And there is an issue. While some in our community do not feel there is a problem with urban deer, there are others who have had pets injured, felt threatened, or been nervous for their children. It is disrespectful and irresponsible to dismiss these concerns just because you don’t share them personally. Disagreeing on something doesn’t preclude conversation. I work with people every day that I respect but don’t agree with; many are my friends.

Members of the IDPS have written many inflammatory letters, emails and Facebook posts, but only one has taken the opportunity to speak with me directly, to ask questions and find the facts. This is not an effective way to work together. It is so much more powerful to use an open mind to understand the realities, to capitalize on our commonalities and to work together to find the best solutions. The money and energy that is being spent on this lawsuit could go a long way towards implementing some of the other recommendations in the Deer Committee Report. Cultivate empathy to build community.

Spring Hawes

Invermere