Days are numbered for geese in Parksville

City council has authorized up to $105,000 for culls the next three years

The City of Parksville will spend almost $50,000 this year killing geese in the Englishman River estuary.

City council voted in favour of the expenditure at a meeting Monday night, a figure that could rise to more than $100,000 over the next few years.

“I’ve been fed up now for 12 years; let’s get rid of them,” said Mayor Marc Lefebvre.

Council approved an expenditure of $35,000 this year and the city will continue with an egg-addling program, which was approved previously with $13,000 of funding. The $35,000 provided Monday could be repeated for both 2017 and 2018. The city will ask the Regional District of Nanaimo to fund one-third of the program.

“In order to get ahead of the geese, we have to proceed with something drastic, which is a cull, over the next three years,” said the city’s chief administrative officer, Debbie Comis.

So-called humane cull procedures are set by the provincial veterinarian.

“That does’t mean it’s pretty,” said Comis.

In June of last year, council adopted in principle the 38 recommendations in a goose management strategy prepared by a group called the Guardians of Mid-island Estuaries Society. On Monday, council put the city’s name behind cull applications from the Guardians to the provincial and federal governments.

The vote Monday night was not unanimous. Coun. Al Greir doesn’t seem convinced the Guardians — who will essentially use the city’s money to hire a contractor to kill the geese— are the right people to do the job.

“We have been doing this (working with the Guardians) since 2008 and the estuary gets worse and worse and it’s costing us a lot of money,” said Greir.

The Capital Regional District spent $31,500 to cull a total of 43 geese last year — $725 a goose.

A related recommendation passed Monday by council calls for the city to write the federal environment ministry to request legislative changes to allow the use of the culled geese for human or animal consumption. In her report, Comis suggested those changes won’t likely happen in time for the use of the dead geese in Parksville this year.

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