EDITORIAL: A time to kill?

Efforts to rejuvenate the Englishman River estuary may have to include a cull of Canada geese

ity council and Environment Canada are faced with some tough decisions if they are to help restore the Englishman River estuary.

Shooting Canada Geese seems almost sacrilegious. What’s next, the slaughter of beavers?

Thing is, these geese are more than a nuisance. The poop in the parks, the ball fields and golf courses, is bad enough. However, these beautiful and iconic birds are wreaking havoc on the Englishman River estuary to the point where they are having an effect on many other species.

The geese are interlopers. They were introduced to the Mid-Island region in the 1970s. They are not indigenous to these parts.

(We hope we have learned not to introduce species to foreign areas. Want to read about another good-idea-gone-bad in this regard? Google Mysis shrimp in Okanagan Lake and learn what it did to the Kokanee salmon population).

So, we have a foreign species taking over an ecologically-important area of the region, perhaps THE most important natural area in Parksville Qualicum Beach, the Englishman River estuary. The geese do what they do — munch and poop and procreate — at a prolific pace. They have grubbed the ground off so much vegetation, the estuary looks barren compared to what it looked like a few decades ago.

All this munching and procreation has, and will continue, to effect the lives and future of species that have called this estuary home for a long time, most notably salmon. The fish need the weeds and grasses on the banks to create water situations conducive to their life cycle.

The geese are not stupid. They know they can stay in city limits and in the estuary safely, away from the guns of hunters.

We do not envy the city and Environment Canada for the decision they have to make, but it’s clear they have to move forward with a cull. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the public — the vision of a government-approved, systematic slaughter of perhaps hundreds of Canada Geese is not a pretty one.

We believe the experts. The experts told city council on Monday night a cull is the best way to get the situation under control and move forward with the restoration of the estuary. These experts don’t want to kill geese — but they are looking at the bigger picture.

Stay tuned.

— Editorial by John Harding

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

Just Posted

Tigh-Na-Mara general manager Paul Drummond, left, and SOS executive director Susanna Newton right are prepared for a reinvented Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive in 2020. COVID-19 will not spoil the community’s annual day of giving and help for local families through the SOS Caring for Community at Christmas program. (Peter McCully photo)
Reinventing Parksville Qualicum Beach’s popular Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive

COVID-19 restrictions won’t spoil community’s annual morning of giving

Map of the location of the Telus cell tower that it plans to build in Qualicum Beach. (Town of Qualicum Beach Map)
Qualicum Beach council approves location of Telus communications tower

Plan is to improve cellphone service in the area

The City of Quesnel has painted its functional fire hydrants with different characters. (Quesnel Downtown Association Photo)
Qualicum Beach committee wants fire hydrants painted with sea life designs

Local artists would be invited to help with the work

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a woman who allegedly threw hot coffee on a McDonald’s employee. (News Bulletin photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP still looking for woman who threw coffee at worker after already receiving refund

Police asking for information in investigation that could lead to assault charges

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read