Vernon considering goose control options including a cull

Geese at Vernon's Kin Beach. Megan Turcato/ Global News

Vernon, B.C., is considering whether or not it should do more to clear geese from local parks.

The birds and the large amount of feces they leave behind are often considered a nuisance, and last year’s surveys showed the geese population is growing faster in the North Okanagan than in other areas of the Okanagan Valley.

The goose control options up for debate at city council range from changing park landscaping to a cull.

Such a cull would entail killing roughly 100-150 birds and does not appear to have much public support.

One park user called the idea disgraceful, saying the community should not kill birds just to create better swimming conditions in Okanagan Lake or to cut down on the bird droppings in the parks.

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“I don’t want to see them killed. I think there is other places where they can go,” said another Kin Beach visitor.

“Maybe if people stopped feeding them that would help.”

A report from an environmental consulting company said the birds can be territorial at mating time, damage crops, and that their fecal matter can be bad for swimming conditions.

Vernon has an egg addling program aimed at decreasing the number of new geese that hatch and has used loud noises and dogs to try and scare the birds off.

Earlier this month, city council increased the budget for egg addling by $15,000 but it’s now looking at a range of other additional options to deal with the geese.

After looking into the options, city staff are not recommending Vernon do anything more to control the birds.

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However, the decision will ultimately be up to city council.

Coun. Akbal Mund said it is a tough issue and he hasn’t decided how he will vote.

However, he noted that council has typically shied away from culling animals in the past.

“Somehow we have to balance the idea of how we can keep the beaches clean and, at the same time, allow mother nature to takes its course,” said Mund.

The issue is up for discussion at Vernon city council’s Monday meeting.

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