CRD may create goose management service as problem grows

WatchThe Capital Regional District (CRD) may soon be taking on the region's goose problem after they say federal officials did not respond to a request for help.

The Capital Regional District (CRD) may soon be taking on the region’s goose problem after they say federal officials did not respond to a request for help.

Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, who is the chair for the Capital Regional District board, wrote to Ottawa last year for financial assistance.

With no response, Plant brought forward a plan at the committee meeting last week to look at having a dedicated goose-management service.  His recommendation that looks for board staff to prepare a report was supported unanimously.

The goose problem has been getting worse and worse over the decades. Farms, local parks and bodies of water are all being damaged as the birds peck away and defecate.

“We’ve had years of goose damage hitting tens of thousands of dollars,” said Rob Galey of Galey Farms.

“But it’s not just the loss of the crops, it’s all the prevented work we did. And I can’t say enough, the mental stress it is on the farmers and us doing this fight all the time just trying to save our crops, it just really starts to wear us down.”

Galey sounded the alarm decades ago for more action.

“It’s also our soccer fields, and baseball fields and our parks. The damage to our estuaries and watershed. There are a lot of reasons we should look at this,”  said CRD Director David Screech.

Screech and others believe the approach may need to use multiple strategies.

One of the ideas thrown around is a practice called egg addling,  where teams of biologists take the goose eggs and shake them to prevent the development of embryos.

“It does not go across a big enough region, and it’s not done actively enough. We’ve seen the numbers in the report,” said Saanich Mayor and CRD Director Fred Haynes

“The population is continuing to climb, maybe not as steeply as it would do. So If we are going to do addling as one of the options, it would have to be a significantly larger addling approach.”

And as geese can live for up to around 20 years, the results may not help anytime soon, so some feel other steps are also needed.

“How are you going to deal with those? I am a believer if the geese are on a farmer’s property he should be able to shoot them with a shotgun,” said Haynes.

“It’s humane, I know some people don’t care for that. I am a believer if our estuaries are being destroyed by geese, we need to go in and take robust action.”

Galey says he is just glad a service is being considered, but he’s urging it be implemented quickly.

“This is something that needs to be addressed immediately or it’s just going to get worse and worse,” he added.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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