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Here's how the Vancouver Park Board is proposing to control the goose population

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In recent years, the Canada goose population in Vancouver has skyrocketed. Most of them congregate in green spaces and city parks – and they leave a big mess behind.

“It is a serious problem, there is certainly parks that cannot be used because the geese are in them,” said commissioner Tom Digby.

A new report estimates there are at least 2,200 geese in the city, and the population is increasing by 20 per cent a year. “So I’m anxious that we take direct action,” said Digby.

On Monday, he and other park board commissioners will be asked to choose between two different goose management strategies.

Plan A advocates for non-lethal action and includes a dramatic increase in apracticee called “egg addling” which involves locating nests and replacing gosling eggs with non-viable ones. But it’s a time-consuming and difficult thing to do.

“We have upwards of 800 nests in the city, and a lot of them are really hard to access and get to, so a lot of nests escape our attention with egg addling. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s certainly a good start,” said Digby.

The plan also recommends the city look at hazing and scaring tactics, and mentioned a remote-control device called “The Goosinator” that is being used in Denver to chase geese away from parks.

“The Goosinator is a great strategy,” said Digby. “What we have to do with hazing and scaring the geese is we have to make life uncomfortable for them.”

He would also like to see dogs allowed on park fields before 9 a.m. so they can chase away geese in the mornings. “The dogs are what we really want here, they are the original goose busters these dogs.”

The non-lethal plan also calls for park designs that are less goose friendly.

“If we were just to plant a few small hedges or put a planter barrier up with some attractive local Indigenous plants in it, the goose won’t go near that because they don’t know if maybe there is a dog hiding behind that,” said Digby.

Plan B calls for everything in Plan A, but also includes some population reduction by culling.

“I’m not convinced yet that we need to go to B,” said Digby, who is leaning towards voting for the non-lethal option at the meeting on Monday. “It seems like there are a lot of tactics available to us, and I would like to see those exhausted.”

While he doesn’t want the geese to be killed, Digby says the park board has to do something now to control the population before it gets out of control.

“I am disinclined to support lethal methods,” he said. But the Green Party commissioner acknowledges he may be outvoted. “I’m one out of seven at the park board, so I will make my pitch, but I don’t always win there.” Top Stories

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