After seven long months of fighting to protect the London deer, City Council voted unanimously not to proceed with the killing of all but 8 deer who frequent the Sifton Bog. THANK YOU all who spoke out to protect the deer! The London Free Press article below summarzies the result.
Liz White, Director
Deer dodge bullet once again
LONDON CITY HALL: Council has rejected killing deer this fall in Sifton Bog pending a report due in February
By JONATHAN SHER, LONDON FREE PRESS
London city council has rejected the killing of deer this fall in Sifton Bog, voting unanimously last night to delay consideration of a cull until the results of a key study are completed next February.
"I don't want London to become the first city in Canada to support a deer hunt," Controller Gina Barber said. "It's a great day, indeed."
A week ago Barber was on the losing side of a vote as four politicians on the city's environment and transportation committee recommended a cull in the fall.
The majority argued any delay could irreparably harm the bog.
But much has changed in the past seven days:
- Though neighbours of the bog and some environmentalists lobbied for a cull, politicians were deluged by those opposing the kill, with more than 400 people signing a petition submitted yesterday.
- The city ecologist said she favoured delaying consideration of a cull until a key study is finished and the deer population in the bog is counted in the fall. Last year the numbers dropped by about 30%.
- Politicians who supported a cull went to the city's acting chief administrator to complain about the city ecologist, a tactic criticized inside and outside city hall.
"Needless to say, this has become a very emotional, explosive and sensitive issue on both sides," Coun. Paul Hubert said.
The bog is in Hubert's backyard and ward, where the deer have long been a source of complaints by neighbours.
But for Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, the issue was one so controversial it shouldn't be considered until all the evidence was in on the harm caused by deer to the bog.
"We should . . . do our homework," said the mayor, whose proposal for a delay was then backed by all of council.
For most of the past century it has been people, not deer, who have posed a threat to a bog that environmentalists say is an ecological treasure and rarity in Southern Ontario.
People drained the bog, flooded it, stripped its peat, cut its black spruce for Christmas trees, surrounded it with development and gravel pits and planted an invasive plant that is likely its biggest threat, buckthorn.
It has only been the past decade those protecting the bog turned their focus to deer. Though a citizens' committee and city staff once recommended a cull, council has not gone that route.
Yesterday's recommended delay included some more immediate elements.
The city will ask Ontario's Natural Resources Ministry for permission to consider options beyond a cull that aren't allowed without ministry approval, such as sterilizing deer or trying to drive them out of the bog and erect a tall fence with space underneath for smaller animals.