Geese swim in Okanagan Lake at Kin Beach Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Geese swim in Okanagan Lake at Kin Beach Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Petitions launched against Vernon goose cull

Petition organizers say cull an unethical overreaction to goose problem

Two petitions have been started to stop the goose cull in Vernon.

Organizer Amanda Peterson started a change.org petition that is garnering signatures from like-minded individuals to “stop the cull” of 100 to 150 geese, as approved by Vernon council Jan. 25, for an additional $41,000.

“The city council has decided to spend $41,000 to cull the geese in Vernon to help our beaches,” Peterson writes in the campaign. “This does not save our beaches. This is wrong. We need to take care of our beaches which means maintenance.”

Instead of a cull, Peterson says council should consider buying a machine to clean up after the invasive species.

Another, organized by Peyton Romeril, that has already garnered nearly 400 signatures as of Feb. 1, said the cull is a result of growing complaints of “goose poop on local beaches.”

“There are 363 different kinds of animals endangered in Canada alone, so by killing off innocent geese you’re posing more of a risk to these geese than there already is,” Romeril writes.

“These are invasive species, there’s no way around it,” said Coun. Dalvir Nahal, who brought forward the suggestion at council’s Jan. 25 meeting.

Nahal told Black Press the geese were introduced to the area in the 1960s. While they were once hunted, that practice has not been sustained and the geese have become a nuisance.

But with 70 nests found in Vernon in 2020 during the egg addling program, it’s unknown how much of an impact this cull will have.

“Why are we only doing 100-150? We have 5,000 geese. What’s 100 going to do? Is 100 going to have an impact?” Coun. Akbal Mund questioned Jan. 25.

Federal and provincial approvals will be needed, therefore it’s unknown if the cull can take place this spring while the geese are molting.

City staff will also need to investigate when and where the geese congregate to determine the most effective time for the cull.

The culling of geese is successfully used in many municipalities, such as Whistler, Parksville, Saanich and Vancouver.

This is the first time council has agreed to the cull after years of the suggestion being brought forward.

– with Jennifer Smith files

READ MORE: Vernon pulls trigger on goose cull

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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