Man wins appeal for predator control contract

Kyle Lay of 150 Mile House will resume providing predator control contract services in the Cariboo Chilcotin.

Kyle Lay of 150 Mile House will resume providing predator control contract services in the Cariboo Chilcotin now that he’s won an appeal with the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB).

In April 2011, Lay was denied renewal of a permit that allowed him and his designates to shoot, trap, snare, hunt with dogs, haze, live capture, or use aversive conditioning on grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, cougars, and coyotes that have been verified as either killing or harassing livestock in wildlife management.

The permit was not renewed by Rodger Stewart, director of resource management, at the Cariboo region’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

Lay appealed Stewart’s decision, asked the EAB to rescind it, and to order Stewart to issue him a three-year permit.

On Jan. 6, Lay learned his appeal was successful.

“Rodger Stewart is drafting the permit to be renewed and I’m just in the process of catching up with him to discuss it, review it, and go over it with him at this point,” Lay told the Tribune.

Stewart confirmed that he received instructions from the EAB to reissue the permit. He had no comments about Lay’s success in receiving the appeal but said he anticipates that additional permits will be issued, aside from the one to Lay.

“The Agricultural Research Development Corporation had a permit. Whether that’s going to be renewed or not depends on the decision of both that group and the director of Fish and Wildlife in Victoria, not myself,” Stewart said, adding there have been as many as 15 contractors working under that contract at one time, with half a dozen of those working in this region.

“I’ve got another application coming before me soon and I was advised the other day that I will see another of very similar character. I know there are other individuals with interests in this work who have called me in the past, so I fully expect more,” Stewart said.

According the EAB’s written decision, the hearing was held in Williams Lake on Nov. 17 and 18, with Lay and Stewart representing themselves.

Lay told the panel he offered a service option to livestock producers who were sustaining losses to wild predators.

“This program provided an option that would fill a gap in service, when the Conservation Officer Service was unable and/or unavailable to complainant’s needs,” Lay said at the hearing.

Stewart responded that when the permit was issued in 2010, there was a clear need for it, especially to respond to coyote and wolf predation, and for some period of time prior, the COS, as a matter of policy, did not respond to losses of personal injury.

“Personal injury is possible in cases of cougar and grizzly bear predation, but unlikely in the event of wolf or coyote,” he said.

He went on to argue that in 2011, due to policy changes, the COS was now in the business of responding to all wildlife predation of livestock, and coupled with the relaxation of open season on wolves and changes to the prohibitions respecting hunting and trapping, Lay’s permit was no longer necessary.

Lay disagreed and submitted what the panel described as a “massive” three-ringed binder containing, among other things, 16 letters of support, of which six were from people who testified on Lay’s behalf.

In his ruling, David H. Searle, EAB panel chair, pointed out that normally letters are not taken into consideration by the panel, but because the letters were “so unique and different,” their authenticity was beyond question.

They came from a wide variety of people, including a conservation officer, an RCMP officer, ranchers and people who all backed Lay’s professional competence and the necessity of his services.

Lay told the Tribune it wasn’t a case of one particular species of predator or one specific species of livestock.

“This affects producers of all livestock and those who don’t raise livestock, such as domestic pets. I tried to represent the issue itself and not specifically one livestock species or one predator. It wasn’t about drawing attention to any particular predator or wildlife in itself. It was actually about resolving an issue professionally and having an option for individuals to use outside of a single source or solution.”

He described his as “private contractor fee for service basis,” adding it’s no different than other examples where there are government initiatives and private initiatives, such as in health services or search and rescue operations.

“Under this sort of situation, I have a permit that allows me to carry out a particular type of work so I can charge a client who hires me for my services, and they pay me at an agreed price,” Lay explained.

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett commented this week that Lay chose to follow the appeal process and through the process received a judgement in his favour.

“I am happy to see the processes in place work successfully,” Barnett said.

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