Mahone Bay considers ban on feeding wildlife


Munching mammals feasting on garden club goods are creating a problem for Mahone Bay's green-thumbed generals.

"Deer are really becoming a problem in the town and are playing havoc with some of the perennial plantings," Jenny Sandison, president of the Mahone Bay Garden Club, told civic politicians in written correspondence considered during town council's January 28 meeting.

The club maintains flower gardens in various parts of town, including by the Main Street town hall and the town's flagpole, and near the public washrooms off Edgewater Street. Sandison's note was an update of the club's activities over the past year.

She indicated the club has tried to discourage the deer by spraying, "with little success. I wonder if the town has a plan to reduce the population at all?"

Councillor Penny Carver proposed a motion directing town staff to research the potential application of legislation banning the feeding of wildlife within the boundaries of Mahone Bay.

Mayor David Devenne suggested, perhaps in jest, that some townspeople would like to take matters into their own hands.

"I did have a citizen that asked me if she could shoot deer from her doorstep with a crossbow because they were eating her plants," he said during the council meeting.

Carver's motion passed, and it's expected the matter will be discussed during a future policy and strategy committee session where it will be graded on its importance compared to other matters on the go.

"Deer have been munching here for a long time," Devenne said. "A few more weeks won't make any difference."

Other municipalities in the region have grappled with the same issue over the years.

The Town of Lunenburg, for example, passed a bylaw in 2017 prohibiting the feeding of wildlife. Anyone who commits an offence faces fines of at least $50 and up to $1,000.

Meanwhile, the Town of Bridgewater last dealt with this issue in 2014 when a proposed bylaw died on the council table. Had the bill been passed, violators would have faced fines of at least $100 and up to $1,000. The issue gained some traction at the time after citizens raised concerns about incidents of intentional feeding of raccoons in a neighbourhood on the northwestern side of town.

Back in 2006, a Bridgewater resident called on the town to pass a bylaw banning people from feeding undomesticated birds, such as crows and pigeons, but that request didn't arouse much political interest.

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