What comes after the cull?

What we need now is a showing of good faith from those on both sides of this issue.

After weeks  of suspense, some legal action, a bit of protest, and more insults than a Republican primary debate, the Invermere deer cull is underway.

For those who’ve fought against the measure over the past couple months the outcome is obviously a disappointment, to put it mildly.

On the other side of the issue, there are residents hoping that even a smaller-than-planned cull will make taking the dogs (or the kids) for a walk a little less nerve-wracking.

Like it or not, the cull is now a done deal. The traps are set, and have already been sprung at least a few times. Even another disruption, such as a successful appeal by the Invermere Deer Protection Organization (IDPO), won’t change that.

What people on both sides of the debate can affect, however, is how we as a community move forward from this.

Agree with him about deer or not, IDPO member Vince Zurbriggen isn’t exaggerating when he says this issue has divided the community. At best, people on both sides have characterized their opponents as stupid, selfish or overly sentimental. At worst, we’ve called each other evil and malicious, or suggested people who don’t share our views don’t deserve to live in this community.

Something here has got to give, regardless of sides.

Invermere council has said it’s willing to work with the community to find other solutions to its deer issues, ones that could ensure our smaller-than-expected cull is also our only cull. But if any efforts in that direction are going to succeed, there needs to be a showing of good faith on both sides.

Now isn’t the time to gloat, nor is it the time to refuse to work with people on the other side of the issue.

That doesn’t mean giving up the beliefs that have propelled us along so far, but it would require a level of civility we haven’t always achieved as this debate has continued — but that we all deserve.

—The Valley Echo