Problems caused by Canada geese have gotten worse in recent years for local farmers. (Black Press Media file photo)

Canada geese a scourge on Greater Victoria farmers

Immediate and long-term solutions needed, says Saanich farmer

As far as farmers are concerned, the Canada geese introduced to the region in the ’50s and ’60s have long overstayed their welcome.

Saanich farmer Rob Galey noted that while the geese have been an ongoing issue for 30 years, the problem has exacerbated significantly since the geese began foraging at night three years or so ago. Going out in the middle of the night to chase them away is not a popular option with people nearby because of the noise they make, he explained.

“In the early spring they can take out an acre of early crops in an hour,” Galey said. “It’s a huge financial hardship, extra workload and lots of mental stress. The mental stress is what really starts to get us us.”

It’s a constant battle that involves covering seedlings in the spring, installing fences, and running stringer lines to keep the geese from landing. “In the fall when they start to put on their winter fat, they wreak havoc with potatoes and carrots.”

Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, who chairs of the Capital Regional Board, agrees the geese have become a scourge on local farmers.

“The farmers have asked for help every year since I was elected five-and-a-half years ago,” Plant said.

ALSO READ: Regional district’s Esquimalt land sale means $3.7M back to municipalities

“The geese have a significant impact on our parks and waters as well,” he said, adding that closures of Beaver and Elk lakes are often caused by geese droppings in the water. Efforts to get the federal and provincial governments to take on the problem as part of wildlife management responsibilities have not received a positive response, Plant noted, so he’s asking CRD staff to prepare a report on a regional solution. The CRD Parks Committee unanimously approved a motion that would have staff work with farmers on a report.

“What would it look like, what would it cost,” Plant explained. “It would likely be through an egg-addling program. We need to do this across the entire region because geese don’t respect municipal borders.”

Galey said it’s good to see the Capital Regional District looking into the situation. “I’m glad someone is finally dealing with it. Someone has to take responsibility.”

He doesn’t believe egg-addling, which involves shaking eggs in their nests to stop the embryo from developing, will yield noticeable results. “But something has to be done immediately,” Galey stressed.

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said even though Colwood doesn’t have a lot of farmland, he has heard more complaints about the geese since they have started to remain in the city all year. “I strongly support the CRD taking a regional approach to a solution,” Martin said.

The CRD board will decide on approving whether to go ahead on preparing a report at the Aug. 12 meeting.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Farming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

Multiple Victoria officers injured during violent incidents, including mental health calls over long weekend

Police deploy pepper spray, conducted energy weapon while arresting suspect

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read