Is roadkill a fact of life, as one Township councillor remarked on May 14, or is there a bigger role motorists and developers can play to reduce it?
Those were pivotal points in a discussion on a wildlife displacement report which recommended these measures:
1. Require developers to put up signs by development sites during clearing of land;
2. Put up warning signs on major roads advising drivers to be aware of wildlife where significant construction is taking place;
3. Put a notice on the Township website advising residents of the dangers to wildlife in developing areas, and asking them to respect road signs and obey posted speed limits, and
4. Adopt an excavation protocol.
With Mayor Jack Froese and Councillors Steve Ferguson and Grant Ward opposed, the recommendations were sent back to staff for another report detailing the cost of implementing them.
“This is an issue I have experienced since I was a child,” Froese said.
Roadkill has less to do with development than it has with interaction with vehicles, he contended.
“Putting signs up isn’t going to make people more cautious,” he said.
However, Councillor Kim Richter pointed out, as development occurs, wildlife is being displaced “and they are not making it to wildlife corridors.”
“This is more a public education and public awareness thing,” she said, adding that “wildlife contributes to a higher quality of life for our residents.”
Councillor David Davis said he wasn’t sure that advisory signs would help, but suggested that developers can do their part so animals are not chased away.
Councillor Charlie Fox said he could support all the recommendations, except the excavation protocol. A south Langley resident, Fox said that there is new roadkill daily.
“It’s a fact of life.”
The protocol bars excavation if nestlings or fledglings are present, or during nesting and denning season if terrestrial wildlife is observed.
It encourages procedures for phasing excavation, building containment fences, relocating wildlife before excavation begins, and requires amphibian and pond species to be salvaged and relocated before ponds are drained.
If there is no habitat space available near the site of excavation, then a plan should be developed to capture and relocate displaced wildlife.
Animals are killed not only where development is occurring, Ward said.
“I see more roadkill on country roads.”
Any more signs “is a misuse of the cost,” he added.
A policy to protect animals driven out by development was first raised in July, 2011 by Dr. Patricia Tallman, who is concerned about the high number of animals that are killed in Willoughby, where she lives.
Willoughby has been in an almost constant state of redevelopment for more than a decade.