Recommendations from the Urban Deer Task Force will be incorporated into a pilot project to protect Okotoks gardens this season. Council approved the task force’s suggestion to allow fencing to be temporarily extended to a height of 2.3 m (7.5ft) as a deterrent to deer at the regular meeting April 12.
It will allow homeowners to exceed Land Use Bylaw limits for fence heights by adding deer deterrent features to the top of existing fencing in either the front, side or rear yard. Residents may also install deer deterrent fencing within their property surrounding garden plots or mesh coverings of gardens separate from fences on their property for the duration of the pilot project.
“This will provide a short-term, immediate support to deter deer from destroying gardens during this year’s growing season,” said Deputy Mayor Matt Rockley.
Specific guidelines will be established for the pilot to ensure that fencing is safe for people and deer, continues to meet specific aesthetics, does not encroach onto public property, and is removable once the pilot is complete.
The pilot project will be in effect immediately and continue until April 12, 2022. This solution aligns with feedback from the Okotoks Garden Club, which indicated that the winter months can also be problematic for deer damaging gardens.
The Task Force will be presenting recommendations for long-term fencing solutions in their final report, which will be submitted to Council in May.