Vernon City Council divided on goose cull

Vernon City Council is divided on the idea of a goose cull.
Vernon City Council is divided on the idea of a goose cull. Megan Turcato / Global News

A tied vote at Vernon City Council means there will be no goose cull in Vernon this year, unless council reconsiders the issue.

Council was split at their Monday meeting on the idea of a cull, voting 3-3 on the proposal that would have seen 100-150 geese rounded up in a trailer to be culled at another location.

When council is tied a motion is defeated.

Mayor Victor Cumming said he voted against a cull because he feels more information is needed.

READ MORE: Vernon considering goose control options including a cull

In particular, Cumming would like to get clearer input from neighbouring jurisdictions on what they think about a cull and more information about the costs associated with other options.

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“Right across the board, people want more done about geese in local parks and I think all councillors would agree with that. The question is which (option) and when and how. I think that’s not clear yet,” said Cumming.

Coun. Brian Quiring voted in favour of a cull, pointing out the bird’s fecal matter can cause swimmer’s itch and many of the birds are not native to the area. (The Okanagan has a non-migratory population of geese that were mostly introduced to the area decades ago.)

“I really think that it is time we do something about it. We’re being overrun by geese and other communities are doing it.”

The city already scares the birds with loud noises and dogs and pays for egg addling to stop new birds from hatching.

Earlier this month, council voted to increase the budget for addling by $15,000.

But with signs the population is growing more rapidly in the North Okanagan than in other areas of the Okanagan Valley, the city was considering stepping up its response.

Council was also presented with other possible options, including changing park landscaping and stepping up scaring tactics to move the geese away from local parks during work hours.

City staff estimated landscaping changes to deter the birds would cost anywhere between $20,000 and $2 million. Meanwhile, getting city staff to scare the birds would cost around $60,000.

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However, council did not vote on any of the alternatives to a cull on Monday.

“All those required additional resources and at this point, we are not sure what those additional resources would be,” said Cumming on why council did not vote on other options.

Quiring is hoping one of the council members who voted against a cull will change their mind and bring the motion back to council for reconsideration.,

He said as someone eats poultry he disagrees with those who feel a goose cull would be cruel.

“We have a problem and we need to deal with it,” Quiring said.

“There doesn’t seem to be any other solution that is more palatable, that’s the thing. … Scaring them by killing them and leaving a few of them and leaving dead carcass lying around, that is not an option for me.”

Quiring said a cull would not wipe out the local population.

Councillors Dalvir Nahal and Scott Anderson also voted for a cull.

Mayor Cumming voted against a cull along with councillors Kelly Fehr and Akbal Mund.

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Coun. Kari Gares was not present.