Vernon has had enough of poop-filled parks and beaches and is taking aim at the culprits.
An over-population of geese in the area is causing concerns for water quality, health and tourism impacts. While scare tactics and egg addling are used, the city will now be spending an additional $41,000 to cull (kill) 100-150 geese.
“These are invasive species there’s no way around it,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal, who brought forward the suggestion at council’s Jan. 25 meeting.
Reading from a Kelowna Capital News article, Nahal said the geese were introduced to the area in the 1960s. While they were once hunted, that practice has not been sustained and the geese have become a nuisance.
“We’ve got Kin Beach unusable, Marshall Fields is just covered and Polson Park is also unusable,” Coun. Scott Anderson said.
But with 70 nests found in Vernon in 2020 during the egg addling program, it’s unknown how much impact this cull will have.
“Why are we only doing 100-150? We have 5,000 geese. What’s 100 going to do? Is 100 going to have an impact?” Coun. Akbal Mund questioned.
Neighbouring jurisdictions will also be contacted to see if they can help control the population.
“Our neighbours to the north are not actually part of the addling program and aren’t doing anything to help the problem,” Coun. Kari Gares pointed out.
Federal and provincial approvals will be needed, therefore it’s unknown if the cull can take place this spring while the geese are molting.
City staff will also need to investigate when and where the geese congregate to determine the most effective time for the cull.
The culling of geese is successfully used in many municipalities, such as Whistler, Parksville, Saanich and Vancouver.
Another suggestion was to put up a sign in the parks that reads: ‘If I catch you feeding a goose you’re getting a $500 fine.’
Mayor Victor Cumming also noted that 19 of the nests found last year were in the McKay reservoir. Once a shooting range, he asked why it can’t be opened up for goose hunting.
“Why are we paying someone to do this (cull)?” Cumming said.
This is the first time council has agreed to the cull after years of the suggestion being brought forward.
But the problem has only continued to grow, with the city spending an extra $15,000 last year on egg addling.