Canada goose deterrents placed in City of Powell River parks and on playing fields may mean a proposed cull of the city’s resident wild goose population is off the table.
Mayor Dave Formosa reported at council’s committee of whole meeting on August 15 that flashing lights installed on the field next to French school École Côte-du-Soleil in February reduced not only the number of geese living there, but also the amount of feces left on the field.
“The lights work,” said Formosa. “That’s huge.”
In March, Formosa suggested city staff look at the feasibility of culling approximately 250 birds after receiving complaints about the state of the city’s playing fields.
At the August 15 meeting, city manager of recreation Neil Pukesh said he discovered the lights during a parks and recreation conference in the United States last fall.
The solar-powered lights emit a flash of light scarcely noticeable by humans every two seconds from dusk to dawn, said Pukesh.
The flash is at eye level for the geese and disrupts their sleep enough that they move to another habitat after a few nights, he added.
Pukesh said city staff installed three lights at the field next to the French school and have since installed two more at Mowat Bay where complaints about goose droppings were piling up.
Formosa said he would like to see the city target more properties, but at $700 per light city staff should look for ways to reduce costs.
Pukesh said his department plans to continue testing the effectiveness of the lights for an entire year before making any firm conclusions.
"Something is working and this is better than doing nothing," said Pukesh. "Ever since we installed the lights, the geese have not been returning to Mowat Bay.”
The city will be looking to permanently mount the lights in cement tubes to reduce the amount of vandalism the units have endured, said Pukesh.
He added that three of the city’s five lights have had mounting stands bent since being installed.