Initiative aims to reduce wildlife/car collisions in county

By Chad Ingram

Published May 31 2016

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is teaming up with the OPP and the Ministry of Transportation in an attempt to reduce the number of collisions involving cars and deer in Haliburton County.

David May of the MNRF gave county councillors an update on the partnership during their May 25 meeting.
“It’s still a relatively new partnership we’re working on” May said explaining that conversations began in 2014 after the ministry received a complaint from a resident who got into a collision with a deer in an area where the animals were being fed.

Despite ministry warnings that feeding deer is dangerous both for the animals and for humans feeding continues to be a common practice for some county residents. Haliburton County has the second-highest rate of animal-vehicle collision in the province next only to Manitoulin May said the number of reported collisions sometimes exceeding 200 a year. So far in 2016 61 have been reported.
“Many of them go unreported so we know there’s a higher number of them happening” May said adding the vast majority of these collisions likely involve deer.

A map showed most of the reported collisions taking place along the county’s major arteries including Highways 35 and 118 and County Road 21.
May said the targeted reduction of brush near “hot spots” where deer are known to cross roadways is one way municipalities could help to reduce the number of collisions.
“So that folks driving along have more of an opportunity to see animals coming out of the bush” he said.

May said the ministry would like to work with the county government on the roads it is responsible for and that creating bylaws regulating deer-feeding was another way municipalities could contribute.
He said if residents wanted to help deer rather than feeding them packing down trails they use during the wintertime would be more helpful.

“People need to think about what their actions are and how those actions may be spinning out into the community” said Algonquin Highlands Reeve and County Warden Carol Moffatt who noted an Algonquin Highlands fire truck was once in a collision with a deer in an area where the animals were being fed.

Moffatt said the county could work with the ministry on brush-clearing and that councillors could broach the issue at lake association meetings during the summer.
The ministry is also working on a public awareness campaign and exploring a partnership with the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario.