City Acted Hastily?

With the current cull controversy in Cranbrook, where most people are against the killing of urban Mule Deer the Kootenay Advertiser launched a public opinion poll. At the time of reporting the poll indicated that 70% of poll takers thought the city did act hastily. Did the city of Cranbrook act hastily in implementing this winters deer cull? You be the judge!

CP - Brian Cooms with the Kootenay Advertiser

POLL: We're working to obtain the results for you.


To haze, relocate or kill local deer was at one point a current question, but as the cull is going on right now, this appears to be a question for next year. The important thing to note now is that if your group is vocal enough, even if it is small, City Hall will do its best to accommodate you.

Mayor Lee Pratt pointed out that the public was 70 per cent in favour of a cull in the last survey. While that is inaccurate in that only about 900 local responses were received for a city of around 19,000 (meaning just 5 per cent responded), it is true that of the people that cared to do the survey, most (642) were in favour.

This also means that around 95 per cent of Cranbrook’s population don’t care one way or another.

And let’s face it, for most people seeing a deer in a field, or in a back yard is an occurrence that barely registers. There are some that complain about deer eating their gardens and some that take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. Some people talk about a deer that gave birth to a very cute fawn in their yard and others talk about a deer giving chase to their (unleashed) dog. As a matter of fact, this office has only had one person send in a letter about a deer attack, and that was on an unleashed dog.

For 95 per cent of Cranbrook residents, the deer issue appears not to be an issue at all. If it was, they would have either picked up a survey at City Hall or do what most of the respondents did and complete it online. There was plenty of publicity leading up the survey.

A few might remember when the city was looking to build an arena suitable for WHL play. A petition with more than 5,000 signatures was given to city hall, giving city leaders a strong mandate to look into how to make it happen—and eventually it did. It took from 1993 to 2000 to make it a reality though.

So it is a little confusing at just how much time was spent and how quickly city hall responded to the urban deer population in the city. With so many people obviously not caring why would the city spend money, repeatedly on a cull? For that matter, at the last meeting regarding the cull, the city staff recommended against this cull and suggested reapplying for a permit in the fall.

But the money had to be spent and the deer had to be killed right now, because that is what the 642 people who responded that way to the survey wanted.

Now this is bad news for the people in the city who live here because they like the fact that the occasional deer will wander through their yard, but if the city continues to function this way, it is great news for petitioners.

Think about it. If you have a pet cause that you can get 642 people to sign on to, the city will, by precedent, get on it right away, especially if you can convince people it is a public safety issue. Want a bylaw stating that city bars (because of possible frostbite to smokers) must put in a heated smoking lounge? Want to make it mandatory (because it is safer for all) for people to salute when addressing you? Want to make (because they could trip on their pants and die) droopy pants against the law? Just get 641 friends to sign your petition and the city will make it a priority.

Just knowing that 642 people out of 19,000 is the threshold for action in the city is a warming thought. Except for the deer, of course—they get a bolt gun to the head.