The abundance of bighorn sheep in Radium Hot Springs is causing odour and aesthetic concerns, according to a letter written to the Village of Radium that was addressed at the regular council meeting of May 8th, 2013.
Written by a long-time Radium resident who wishes to remain anonymous, the letter states, “I am thoroughly disgusted as [sheep] have left my street and yard in a total disaster. I cannot allow my grandchildren to play in the yard because of all the feces.”
She says that if her yard is not swept free of the waste, high temperatures create an unbearable smell.
Some days up to 80 sheep must be chased off her property.
Radium councillors sympathized with the concerns and discussed possible solutions, but decided to request consultation from Parks Canada before taking action.
The writer of the letter believes the sheep should be herded back to Kootenay National Park, “where they came from.”
While they’re an appealing animal to look at, they don’t need to be living in a village, she writes.
“We are not taking over their land — they are taking over our land.”
She says the animals have stained her deck and driveway with their droppings.
“This is not a healthy situation as the excretion is never cleaned up and the smell is awful.”
As a child growing up in Radium, she claims there were no sheep living in town.
“I believe the issue is going to get worse as each year I find more and more.”
The letter closed by proposing a solution: Instead of building a roof over the skating rink, spend the money on moving the sheep elsewhere.
Councillor Ron Verboom, however, disagrees.
“Maybe they’re congregating in tighter areas, but in actual numbers, the numbers are down,” he said, referring to a Parks Canada evaluation.
“When we first started the sheep count, we had, I think, around 210 and we’re down to 140 right now.”
While no immediate solution is available until more information is received from Parks Canada, council agreed that more aggressive sidewalk sweeping could mitigate the problem.