District will educate people, not kill rabbits

North Saanich decides not to control a growing rabbit population along Green Park Drive

Rabbits feast on grass in the yard of the Green Park Drive resident. The District of North Saanich was petitioned by area residents to do something about a growing concern.

Unable to quantify their numbers and ultimately unwilling to cull them, the District of North Saanich is choosing to educate people on rabbits and their propensity to be prolific.

At their Jan. 14 committee of the whole meeting, council voted unanimously not to undertake a rabbit control program.

Instead, they adopted a staff option to try to educate people on the issues around rabbit ownership and release, accidental or intentional. Part of that education material will include how property owners can respond to an exploding rabbit population in their yards.

“It’s an issue we have found can have a lot of emotion,” said director of planning and community services Mark Brodrick. “There are two distinct opinions on it.”

Councillor Dunstan Browne, chair of the committee session, read out a letter from Peter Hurley, the resident who first brought the issue to council’s attention. In it, Hurley stated he was disappointed with staff’s recommendation not to proceed with a municipal rabbit control program, but recognizes the reasons why.

Hurley did, however, urge council to help educate the public as a secondary option.

Staff did include an option to use the district’s website and newsletter to provide information, discourage rabbits as pets in the municipality, discourage their release and offer recommendations on their control — from fences and repellents, to brush control and inviting more predators.

Brodrick told council enforcing any new rules regarding rabbit control and release would be difficult, as would be asking the Capital Regional District (CRD) to add rabbits to its list of nuisance wildlife, which already includes deer, raccoons and geese.

“The CRD wants to see local municipalities do something first,” he said. “In the case of deer, they wanted communities to create a fencing and anti-feeding bylaw before (they) would consider getting involved.”

Councillors Elsie McMurphy and Celia Stock suggested a compromise and put forward the education option.

“The information is useful to the public,” added Mayor Alice Finall, expressing concern for any staff time involved.

She also questioned Hurley’s call for the district to create some form of restrictive laws that would make it illegal to sell unsterilized rabbits.

“We may not have the authority to do that,” she said.

Browne agreed, saying such a bylaw would be tough and costly to police.

Members of the public speaking to the issue Monday night said they didn’t think the rabbits posed as big an issue as it was made out to be.

Bernadette Green, however, said it is an issue and would like to see more information for people on the district’s website and in the newsletter.

Council unanimously voted to have staff publish information that would discourage the keeping of pet rabbits, discourage the release of domestic rabbits and to provide recommendations for property owners.

The decision is expected to be ratified at council’s next regular meeting on Jan. 21.

 

Just Posted

Feasting geese concern farmers

For farmers on the Saanich Peninsula, cereal crops like corn are starting… Continue reading

Cycling Without Age raises funds for program

Free rides for seniors coming to Sidney

SidFest raises $1,500 for youth clinic

For the sixth year, SidFest has been an opportunity for talented high… Continue reading

Tanner’s Books owner is running for Sidney mayor

Cliff McNeil-Smith says managing growth is his top priority

Feast of Fields settles in for the summer of 2018

Vancouver Island Feast set for Kildara Farms in North Saanich on Aug. 26

New stage highlight of Brentwood Bay Festival

Peninsula Country Market vendors and music accompany start of summer celebration

Sidney painter also a preacher

Patrick Chu opens new studio; off to China this month

Sweden beats South Korea 1-0

Sweden gets benefit of video review in World Cup

Blue Jay Roberto Osuna not expected to appear in court

The Blue Jays pitcher is charged with one count of assault by Toronto police

Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades

Over 30 years the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Family separation policy starts dividing Republicans

Deep concerns arise over the child separation policy in the U.S.

Strong earthquake in Japan kills 3

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake that struck the area early Monday near Osaka

Saanich farmers’ market ready to plow ahead in 2018

The market returns for its second year July 8 with some minor changes

BC Lions defensive back Marcell Young levels streaker in home opener

Young hit the fan near one of the 45-yard lines

Most Read