B.C. communities want Canada goose kill permits

Communities are again seeking federal and provincial permission to kill Canada geese that are fouling beaches and parks

Canada geese are proliferating in B.C.

B.C. communities are again seeking federal and provincial help to keep Canada goose population under control by killing geese that are fouling beaches and parks.

Delegates at last week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention endorsed a resolution from Osoyoos, to address a problem that plagues many B.C. communities.

Thompson Nicola Regional District director Tim Pennell told the convention that beaches around area lakes are being “destroyed” by geese, and their droppings are triggering beach contamination warnings that affect tourism and local residents’ recreation.

The Osoyoos resolution notes that addling goose eggs has had limited effect, and hunting regulations prevent culling in urban and recreation areas. It asks for the Canadian Wildlife Service to issue more kill permits.

Failing that, they want the province to issue permits.

In 2011 the UBCM asked senior governments for help controlling geese in parks, and the B.C. government said kill permits are federal jurisdiction.

Geese and their droppings are a chronic problem in other areas. A local resident wrote to the Abbotsford News in July, complaining that “there is so much goose poop on the paved trails that it’s like navigating through a minefield.”

On Vancouver Island, golf courses hire dog handlers to chase geese off fairways, sometimes shifting the problem to the next golf course. Farmers also struggle to protect crops from geese and deer, which have proliferated as hunting has declined.

Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray raised a related concern at the UBCM convention. B.C. is considering changes to testing procedures for recreational waters, based on Health Canada guidelines that recommend beach water advisories based on a single sample of 400 E.coli per 100 ml.

Gray said depending on a single sample could trigger significantly more beach water advisories, often based on a transitory visit by geese, without significant increase in risk to human health.