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Vernon city council votes against geese cull

Geese on Okanagan Lake.
February 24, 2020 - 4:36 PM

Vernon council has voted not to go ahead with a proposed goose cull.

City councillor’s voted not to move forward with killing approximately 150 geese, at the cost of $41,000 at its meeting today, Feb. 24.

The decision not to go ahead with the cull came after a lengthy discussion between councillors following a presentation from a biologist with Okanagan Regional Goose Management.

While councillors Scott Anderson, Brian Quiring and Dalvir Nahal voted in favour of the cull, Mayor Victor Cumming, and councillors Akbal Mund and Kelly Fehr voted against the motion. The tie ultimately defeated the motion to move ahead with a cull. Councillor Kari Gares was not present at the meeting.

“Five years on this seat, it’s the number one question,” Coun. Nahal told the meeting. “I’m totally in favour of culling… either we have Kin Beach as a beach (or) we leave it to the geese.” 

Coun. Quiring reiterated Nahal’s comments.

“It’s gross on the beaches,” Quiring said. “We have a problem, this is what we need to do.”

Council Anderson referred to the report presented by the Okanagan Regional Goose Management and pointed out the geese are not a native species to the Okanagan and were brought here in the 1960 and 1970s.

“We should be doing this,” Anderson said. “Zebra mussels are an invasive species and no one is saying to spare (them).”

However, Coun. Mund pointed out if culling was so successful why do other communities have to do it each year?

Coun. Fehr also did not support the cull and received support from Mayor Cumming.

The Mayor said more discussion needed to take place with the Okanagan Indian Band and the North Okanagan Regional District. Cumming highlighted the fact the band owns the majority of Kin Beach, while parts of Swan Lake sit in the Regional District’s jurisdiction.

“I think we are at least a year away on this one,” the Mayor said.

The City will still continue with its current egg addling and other goose mitigation programs.

Okanagan Regional Goose Management biologist Kate Hagmeier told council all goose mitigation programs, including a cull, only targetted Okanagan geese and not migratory geese.

The biologist also pointed out the north part of Okanagan Lake had significantly more geese nesting than other areas of the lake.

A survey from the goose management committee shows Kin Beach to have a higher number of geese than any other areas of the Okanagan with the exception of Vaseux Lake which is a designated migratory bird sanctuary.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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