WATCH: Guardians of the Mid-Island Estuaries would like to see the Canada goose population reduced in Parksville by 50 per cent. The city’s mayor says he’d like to see new population numbers. Kendall Hanson reports.
People using the Parksville Community Park can spend a lot more time concentrating on their game and a lot less time watching out for Canada geese this year due to a smaller population of the birds in the city.
“I notice there’s a lot less Canadian geese here,” said pickleball player Pat Chapman.
Last year the city authorized a cull of 484 Canada Geese.
They were taken from the estuary and shot. A First Nation then took meat from the birds.
The city’s mayor says it’s proven to be a good decision.
“I would say it’s been very very successful. Personally going down to the beach with my grandkids that came for a week and going down to the beach on a regular basis myself I saw very, very, very few geese,” said Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebve.
The mayor says the positive outcome from the cull include less goose excrement and the return of native grasses along the Englishman River estuary, which in turn helps fish.
At a recent presentation to Parksville City Council, the Guardians of the Mid-Island Estuaries even called for another cull for next year of the non-native birds.
“I think we have to reduce the population further,” said President John Cooper. “There’s still a lot of geese here. I’d like to reduce it another 50 per cent from what it is now.”
The mayor says he’d like to see new numbers on populations but says culls seem to be the only thing that works.
“We’ve tried all those other ways,” said Lefebve. “We egg addle every year. We had raptors. We had dogs. People even said if you put big logs and big rocks, that’s sort of what their natural enemies hide behind and they see that [and] they leave. Well, they didn’t leave. ”
Talk of a cull is always the source of controversy
“I don’t see that many geese, so 50 per cent of what?” questioned park visitor Bruce Wall.
“I just don’t see any harm in holding them back a little bit cause they seem to be everywhere, parks, golf courses, you name it,” said park visitor John Webb.
“It’s definitely a hard question cause I am an animal lover but I do see why that might be a potential benefit,” said park visitor Jessica Dunan.
A decision the mayor says should be left up to the experts but, like the migratory birds, one that will be returning to Parksville once again.