Residents of a Penticton mobile home park have had enough of sharing their properties with a resident urban deer population.
Representatives from the Figueira Mobile Home Park on Yorktown Avenue say the problem has reached a critical stage, where they are now being overrun with deer.
The park is surrounded on three sides by a six-foot fence and borders the oxbows on the other.
“The deer feel relatively protected while in the park. The deer roam freely from yard to yard and stay for lengthy periods of time,” reads the presentation that was handed to city council on Tuesday.
A survey was conducted with the 117 homes in the park; five tenants were away, 16 were indifferent and 96 responded that they want an immediate solution.
Bob Cartwright, representing the park residents, said the answers they got on their survey show how hard residents have tried to deer proof their yards, to no avail.
“It really demonstrates how ineffective that has been. There is no simple answer to this,” said Cartwright. “Urban deer do not respond to deer proofing.”
The problem is so bad, according to Cartwright’s presentation, that cleaning up deer droppings is a daily job.
‘There is not a yard that is not littered with deer feces, to the point where activities cannot take place,” according to the presentation, which also cites one tenant, who after being away for a month, nearly filled a 2.5-gallon bucket with the droppings he had to clean up.
Another resident found a dead deer in his backyard, which scavengers had been feeding on.
Some of the deer have become resident in the park, having their fawns there, resulting in new generations being less likely to move on.
“They are residents as we are now. We see the same deer all the time coming into the park,” said Cartwright. “Please don’t tell us we have to cope. This is an issue that is important to us. It affects our health and our lives.”
The park residents are asking the city to get involved, possibly including a cull in the park. Their situation is unique, they say, with an enclosed neighbourhood where a cull could not affect other areas of the city.
That makes it a perfect spot to test management plans, according to Cartwright.
“We can look at what works and what doesn’t work but we have to get together,” said Cartwright, stressing that nothing can happen until the city puts in an application to the province.
“Nothing will happen on this issue until the city files an application. Our park is depending on you.”
“We are not aware of any other portion of the city that is experiencing the level of problems with the deer that we are,” reads the presentation, adding that they don’t anticipate any resident of the park or the park owner to mount any opposition to dealing with the deer.
The problem of urban deer has returned to city council a number of times over the past decade, including in 2012 when council supported applying for a cull permit.
However, cost, legal challenges and community opposition caused council to shy away from a cull. Earlier this year, they voted to continue their hands-off policy and continue working with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen on a regional approach to deer management.
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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