GoreBay seeks geese controls for waterfront public facilities

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GORE BAY – A member of the Town of Gore Bay general government committee has urged the town to do something to control geese on the town’s waterfront and at public facilities.

“A few years ago when we had a major deer problem in town, we (council) did something about it, although not everyone was happy about it,” said Ron Lane, at a Gore Bay general government committee meeting last week. “If anyone has been down at the waterfront and the boardwalk this year, I think this has been the worst year yet with geese.” He explained lots of geese “crap” can be found on the boardwalk, playgrounds, splash pad and town docks. 

Mr. Lane told the committee he has done research on the issue, produced by the federal government on what action can be taken to control Canada geese. “This type of thing happens throughout North America, at golf courses, parks and waterfronts and dock areas everywhere.”

“For next year I’m thinking with some more research done, the town could put in some type of controls to keep geese off these areas,” said Mr. Lane. He told the committee that earlier this summer the town town public works staff employees put up nettings around the railings of the boardwalk. “In June and July geese can’t fly, and the only way they get on the shore is by climbing up and walking to the shore. And once they get on shore with their young geese, they obviously crap everywhere.” 

“What we need to do is create a barrier so they can’t get up on the shore or can walk around on areas like the boardwalk, docks, playgrounds and splash pad,” said Mr. Lane. “Geese also don’t like flying in places where there are trees. So maybe we could look at putting planting more trees at the waterfront.”

Mr. Lane noted as well there is a spray that can be put on the grassy areas that makes the grass shiny in the eyes of geese and if they see it they won’t go, and if they still eat the grass it makes them sick to their stomach. “There are a lot of ways that we can help to control the geese problem. But the main thing is keeping them away from core areas like the boardwalk, docks, playground and splash pad.”

“There will likely be some cost to any solution agreed on with, for example, putting netting around the boardwalk etc.,” continued Mr. Lane. “These are just ideas I’m bringing forward. But the town needs to do something to control the geese, it is disgusting and not safe with kids playing at the splash pad and playground with all this crap around.” 

Mr. Lane told the committee at one point this summer, while walking on the boardwalk he saw two adult geese and their 18 babies. 

Councillor Jack Clark said that although they have now left for this year, there were 22 Canada geese plaguing the Manitoulin Golf course with the same problem this summer. He said the golf courses get rid of the Canada geese droppings by using a blower to get rid of the mess off the greens, for example.

“So, they (golf course) didn’t deter the birds, they are just cleaning the mess they made,” said Mr. Lane. “The town public works staff can’t be spraying and washing the splash pad and other facilities all the time.”

“We have a number of months to think about it and get ready to do put something in place early next spring to deter the geese next spring,” said Mr. Lane. 

Gore Bay Mayor Dan Osborne said as far as costs involved in options that may be considered for deterring the geese, some funds will have to be included in the town budget for 2022 to provide for this.

“I think a lot more research should be done on all of this,” said Mr. Lane. “The town should create a plan of what they want to do, then get pricing on the option being looked at carry it out as well.”  

“I agree, and it is disgusting to see the mess the geese make,” stated Councillor Kevin Woestenenk, chair of the general government committee.

The issue will be left on the general government committee agenda for future discussion and action at future meetings.