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CRD names 11-person deer advisory group

Apr 26 2012

An 11-person citizens committee has been selected to look at one of the most controversial issues facing the region this year.

The deer management citizens advisory group was appointed Wednesday by the Capital Regional District.

Five members are from the core municipalities, four are from Peninsula municipalities and two are from the West Shore. Commercial farmers and First Nations are represented.

The committee will review the issue of deer in the region and advise the CRD on recommended options to deal with them. Options could range from maintaining the status quo to recommending a cull.

The number of deer has increased in the region, causing concern among some people, while others say the deer are a natural part of the environment. Several farmers say their livelihoods and food security are threatened by deer, which can destroy crops in an afternoon, while some urban residents complain about their gardens being gobbled by deer.

The issue is so fraught with emotion, controversy and divergent opinions that the CRD decided the best way to gather input was through a citizens committee.

So many qualified people applied to be on the committee that the CRD considered making it bigger, said Geoff Young, chairman of the CRD. However, because a committee can become too unwieldy, the CRD kept at the agreed-upon 11-person group, he said.

“It was really tough cutting to the number we had decided on,” Young said.

Applicants outlined their expertise and qualifications in the application, experience in decision-making — whether at a government or community level — and experience working with groups. Several also have technical and scientific experience.

“We really tried to get a committee made up of people with a wide range of views,” Young said. “We are very well aware there is a broad range of views among the public on this topic, and we wished to have that reflected on the committee.”

The committee will have its first meeting in May. No specific date has yet been scheduled. Meetings will be open to the public. The committee will report and make recommendations to the CRD by the end of July.

The committee members are: Richard Christiansen, Wendy Fox, Lisa Kadonaga, Sol Kinnis, Terry Michell, Robert Moody, Patrick O’Rourke, Jocelyn Skrlac, Philip Tom, Kerri Ward and Robin Bassett. A chairperson for the group will be selected at its first meeting.

kwestad@timescolonist.com

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