Letter to the Editor: Invermere deer timeline

The facts and timelines of the deer issue in Invermere.

Dear Editor,

The facts and timelines of the deer issue in Invermere:

May 2010: District of Invermere (DOI) Council sent a letter to the Province with concerns over the number of urban deer.

Fall 2010: the DOI received the “Urban Ungulates Conflict Analysis Report” from the Province. The report recommended that anti-feeding bylaws be created and enforced, that residents be surveyed on their opinions about deer and deer management options, that an urban deer management committee be established, and that deer populations within the community be counted.

December 2010: DOI had created anti-feed bylaws and established terms of reference and appointed six people (plus Ministry of Environment non-voting member) to an Invermere Urban Deer Management Committee.

January 2011: the DOI and Deer Committee conducted a survey of residents, 292 surveys were returned. The survey was compiled from similar surveys done in Cranbrook and Kimberly.

February 2011: the deer committee organized a deer count, and counted 199 deer in Invermere. During the spring and early summer of 2011, the deer committee completed extensive research regarding every possible option and provided recommendations to DOI council. Province allowing the cull, and an urban wildlife control contract position was advertised for.

December 2011: a small group of people began complaining about the decision to undertake a deer cull. Many of the people were not from Invermere. They formed the IDPO or IDPS. When the last ditch attempts by the IDPS to change DOI council position were unsuccessful, and the attempts to protest and boycott businesses owned by members of council failed, they then turned to legal recourse.

February 2011: Shane Suman and the IDPS sued the DOI and received a injunction delaying the cull. When the cull eventually began, a few members of the group followed the contractor, and several of the traps were tampered with and vandalized.The carcasses of the deer killed were offered to residents of Invermere, local First Nations, and to our local food bank. The DOI was not involved in meat processing.  Reports from those who received the meat were positive.

After the cull was over, members of the IDPS suggested that they would work on solutions to manage the deer population and to promote non-lethal options. Despite meeting with the deer committee to provide their recommendations, none were received. In addition, when they were asked to provide suggestions on how they would improve deer count methods — which they have frequently criticized — again none were received.

January 2013: the frivolous law suit will go to trial and waste tax dollars.

Gerry Taft

Mayor, District of Invermere