Bighorn sheep congregate in front of the Chase Catholic church.

Bighorn sheep congregate in front of the Chase Catholic church.

Chase resident urges highway fencing to keep sheep off the road

The Chase's iconic bighorn sheep are on the B.C. government’s radar as plans for highway improvements

The Chase area’s iconic bighorn sheep are on the B.C. government’s radar as plans for highway improvements are being formulated.

In anticipation of the Ministry of Transportation seeking public input on future highway upgrades through Chase, resident Andrew McLaren provided some advanced input of his own, written in a letter to Village of Chase council. The letter focused on an encounter McLaren had with a bighorn sheep on Highway 1 at the east end of Chase. He said the animal was trotting eastbound near the crest of the hill.

“With nowhere to pull over, I have no idea what happened when it encountered oncoming traffic,” writes McLaren. “Can you please suggest to the minister that provision be made to fence off the south side of the highway through Chase? There is a large herd of bighorn sheep on Scatchard Mountain to the south, who seem determined to wander on to the Trans-Canada Highway in Chase,” says McLaren, adding he’s seen at least 20 sheep grazing in the Catholic churchyard by the Shuswap Avenue highway access.

A member of the Chase and District Fish and Game Club, McLaren says neither he nor the club wish to see any more dead animals on the highway, and insists there’s no reason for the sheep to be wandering into the community.

In a written response to McLaren, Stone offers the assurance that the ministry will consider the safety needs of both travellers and wildlife as it works to mitigate the impact of infrastructure on the environment.

“The activities and movements of wildlife along the highway corridor are important to be aware of as we begin to develop improvement plans for this section of the Trans-Canada Highway,” writes Stone, adding he has passed McLaren’s letter on to the ministry’s project team.