Geese swim in Okanagan Lake at Kin Beach Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Geese swim in Okanagan Lake at Kin Beach Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Goose cull on target for Vernon

Tight timeline as city prepares to rid beaches of hundreds of birds

Vernon council has pulled the trigger on a goose cull, but it could take up to four months to complete.

The cull, aimed at cleaning up local beaches and parks saturated in goose poo, has garnered substantial support and flak from constituents and visitors.

READ MORE: Vernon pulls trigger on goose cull

A budget of $40,000 for up to as many as 250 birds, will include a hired expert, animal care application and general wildlife permit. City staff estimate the plan and permits with assistance from the expert could cost $7,000.

If approved by the provincial and federal government — which could take up to four months — a qualified contractor would be hired to complete the roundup of the geese.

The roundup would occur in June, once the geese have lost their flight feathers, or molted. This way, the roundup captures both adult geese and their young, a report to council reads.

“Most of the geese will be resident geese however the round up may include a limited number of migratory geese,” the report reads.

Roundup teams will consist of nine or 10 qualified staff, many in kayaks that will cover the lake and aid in corralling geese into a specified area as per the management plan.

“The area that the kayaks will cover will encompass all of the beaches including Paddlewheel, Lakeshore and Kin Beach,” the report reads. “The geese at Polson Park will not be rounded up as a lot of these geese will fly to larger bodies of water before they molt.”

From the lake, the geese will be corralled onto land and into a trailer.

The management plan will specify how many birds could be retrieved with the area based on past years’ numbers — the report said up to 250 geese could be proposed, costing around $27,000.

Carcasses will be disposed of at the landfill or animal compost. Federal regulation does not allow for the distribution of meat. Discarding carcasses is estimated to cost around $4,000.

The Okanagan Indian Band turned down the offer to use the carcasses for ceremonial purposes, but it is being investigated if they can be donated to hunters to use as bait.

City of Vernon staff has made inquires into the possibility of using the McKay reservoir as a possible location for the hunting of geese, the report to council reads, but an amendment to the firearms bylaw would be required and if that were to go through, the Wildlife Act limits the number of hunters allowed, types of species and so forth.

“Confirmation with British Columbia Conservation office would be required,” the report says.

At least two petitions in protest have been started on change.org. Save the Geese in Vernon, organized by Amanda Peterson, has garnered more than 800 signatures as of Feb. 9, while another 1,100-plus have signed Peyton Romeril’s Stop Vernon BC’s Council Members from Killing Canadian Geese.

READ MORE: Former YVR wildlife control officer backs Vernon’s goose cull


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