EDITORIAL: Many sides to goose cull

Dogs, egg addling — many methods to control this non-native bird have been tried over the years

Perhaps our timing was bad. Or perhaps the kill job was just that thorough.

On Tuesday afternoon we spent an hour looking for a goose, any goose. We visited two spots in the Englishman River estuary, the site of the carnage on Sunday where 484 Canada geese were killed in an effort sanctioned by all appropriate government departments.

We visited Parksville’s Community Park and beach. We even had a look behind city hall off Jensen Avenue and Craig Street, a place where a flock is known to lounge and munch.

Nada. Not one single goose in any of those locations.

When have you ever visited the estuary or community park and not seen a goose?

It seems the word got out in the goose world: Parksville isn’t exactly goose-friendly these days.

We have not taken a position for or against the goose cull in Parksville. And we won’t today. We will not, however, pretend it’s something it is not. These geese were not lulled to sleep with a sedative and held in someone’s arms as they peacefully passed. They were not euthanized. They were slaughtered, period.

It’s important to note the city didn’t order this cull on a whim. The problems — yes, human problems — were real and quantified by scientists and others for years. Many measures were attempted over many years. The geese, we are told, are also an invasive species. Like Scotch broom. The ones that stay here year-round are not native to the area and were brought here for hunting purposes many decades ago.

These symbols of Canadiana have been destroying the estuary for years and it’s getting to the point they were threatening the future of native species like salmon.

Then there’s the poop. It’s possible the feces could present problems larger than the fouling of a ball field. One day, some people tell us, a heated-up, full-of-tourists, summer-time Parksville Bay could be closed to swimmers due to e coli concerns emanating from goose poop.

Closing the beach? Yikes. Brings to mind the fictitious Amity Island in the movie Jaws. Business people and the mayor in that film fought to keep the beach open in tourist season while scientists told them that was not a good idea.

We understand why people are expressing disgust, sadness and anger regarding this cull. We also understand why the powers that be felt this was their next logical course of action.

— Editorial by John Harding