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Goose cull a no go in Vernon

Tied vote meant defeat for councillors in favour of the kill program
Vernon city council voted to defeat the proposed cull of geese within city limits on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (File)

The goose cull of up to 150 birds in Vernon is a no go after councillors defeated the motion.

Councillors in favour of the kill program proposed by Parks and Public Spaces manager Kendra Kryszak Monday said this was the one option sure to control population numbers.

On the other hand, Councillors Akbal Mund, Kelly Fehr and Mayor Victor Cumming said the alternative options of scare tactics and altering the landscape shouldn’t be skipped without consideration.

Coun. Scott Anderson, who was in favour of the kill program, estimated to cost the city $41,000, said the birds targeted by the proposed method are an invasive species that are not native to the Okanagan Valley and this option is the only way to mitigate the negative impacts of the pesky geese.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal agreed. She said after five years serving Vernon as a councillor, this is the number one issue she hears about from her constituents.

“If we don’t do the cull, then let’s not do the addling program because we’ve been doing it for years and it’s not working and it’s still killing them,” Coun. Nahal said.

Those opposed to the cull, however, said egg addling is working to control geese populations.

Council recently approved the additional spending of $15,000 to expand the egg addling program within city limits on Feb. 10. Councillors also requested administration amend the Animal Control Bylaw to ban wildlife feeding within city limits.

Those bylaw changes will be considered at a later date.

Currently, the city is spending around $35,000 a year to address goose populations through the egg addling program and scare tactics.

The cull proposed by Parks acknowledged this method is often considered unpopular and would likely see an adverse public and media reaction.

In a presentation by wildlife biologist Kate Hagmeier and co-ordinator of the Okanagan Goose Management Program, she said although culls do permanently remove some geese, egg addling would still be required to control populations.

Communities on Vancouver Island have been harvesting birds for the past three years at a cost of around $35,000 annually, Hagmeier said. Each year, more than 500 geese are destroyed.

Coun. Mund returned to this point while voicing his reasoning not to support the kill program. The fact the program was repeated annually underscores its efficacy, or lack thereof.

“Let’s look at alternatives before we move to a cull,” he said.

Mayor Cumming said more discussions need to be had between neighbouring governments, including the Okanagan Indian Band and the Regional District of North Okanagan’s Electoral Area B.

Coun. Kari Gares was not present at the council meeting Feb. 24.

READ MORE: Vernon to add $15K to goose management

READ MORE: Goose cull proposed in Vernon


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