The City of Parksville has requested council approve $35,000 in the 2019 budget for goose management, in order to proceed with immediate egg addling and acquire necessary permits to begin a harvest.
In June 2015, Parksville council adopted in principle 38 recommendations contained in a goose management strategy for the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, prepared by the Guardians of Mid-Island Estuaries Society.
A key recommendation of the strategy is to humanely reduce non-migratory resident Canada goose populations in the city to a level that prevents conflict between geese and human activities and reduces the ecological damage to local estuaries.
The first time the city had Canada geese killed as part of their three-year program was in 2016, with 484 birds taken from the Englishmen River estuary and killed.
In September 2018, following a presentation by the Guardians, council passed a resolution stating that the 2018-2022 financial plan be amended to include funding in the amount of not more than $35,000 per year for three years (from 2019 to 2021).
At an April 1 council meeting, Deb Tardiff, city manager of communications, said because the 2019 budget will not be approved for a few more weeks, staff is bringing forward the report prior to budget approval to get started on the permitting process. The $35,000 annual expenses relates to egg addling, permitting, annual moult counts, aerial counts and estuary restoration.
Tardiff added that the City of Parksville has always taken the lead on goose management, with minimal financial support over the past three years coming from the Regional District of Nanaimo.
A harvest takes place each year in June with a B.C. Wildlife veterinarian on site. The geese are shot in the head with a bolt gun which kills them instantly.
Tardiff said the last three harvests have been done with First Nations groups, who use all of the goose meat.
Mayor Ed Mayne said since the goose management program has been put in place, the number of migratory geese in the Parksville area has significantly reduced.
“A 25 to 30 per cent decrease, if I’m not mistaken,” Mayne said. “It’s not something any of us want to do but it has to be done. The estuary will be totally destroyed if we don’t do something.”
Coun. Doug O’Brien said he’s fully supportive of the city’s goose management strategy.
“We are responsible for taking care of [the geese] before they destroy the estuary,” he said. “It’s an excellent program that the Guardians have put forward for us and their track record in past harvests has been very successful and they are making a huge difference already.”
Coun. Adam Fras made a motion to direct staff to draft a letter to the RDN requesting they provide a third of the expenses for the goose management strategy.