Parks Canada refutes alleged increase in expenses for Sidney Island deer removal

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Parks Canada disputes claim of rising costs for Sidney Island deer eradication



“Is Parks Canada’s Deer Eradication Effort on Sidney Island Justified?

In response to criticism from a low-tax advocacy group, Parks Canada has revealed the true costs of their deer eradication efforts on Sidney Island. While the initial estimate of $5.9 million to tackle the invasive deer issue stands, the overall habitat restoration project is expected to total around $12 million. But is this hefty price tag justified?

The Cost Breakdown

According to a statement from Parks Canada spokesperson Nancy Hildebrand, the $12 million project budget includes more than just deer eradication. It encompasses vegetation restoration, invasive plant removal, fencing installation, outreach efforts, and scientific studies. This comprehensive approach aims to restore the native coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Controversy Over Foreign Hunters

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has raised concerns about the use of foreign hunters to shoot deer from helicopters, instead of employing local hunters. Parks Canada defends their decision by stating that they initially hired a Canadian-based firm for the job. However, due to a lack of qualified workers in the country, specialists from outside Canada were brought in. The total expenditure for phase one of the work amounted to nearly $800,000.

The Need for Action

Despite criticisms from the tax group about the effectiveness of local hunters in controlling the deer population, Hildebrand argues that previous attempts have failed. After 40 years of unsuccessful population control, a long-term solution was deemed necessary. This solution involves managing invasive plants, reintroducing native species, and completely eradicating the invasive fallow deer population on the island.

Conclusion

While the costs of Parks Canada’s deer eradication efforts may seem steep, it is important to consider the long-term ecological benefits of restoring the native ecosystem on Sidney Island. The decision to enlist the help of foreign hunters may be contentious, but it was deemed necessary due to a lack of local expertise. Ultimately, the goal is to preserve the delicate balance of the ecosystem and protect the biodiversity of the area. As debates continue over the best approach to wildlife management, it is crucial to weigh the potential benefits of such conservation efforts against the associated costs.”



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