Problems caused by Canada geese have gotten worse in recent years for local farmers. (Black Press Media file photo)

Canada geese a scourge on Greater Victoria farmers

Immediate and long-term solutions needed, says Saanich farmer

As far as farmers are concerned, the Canada geese introduced to the region in the ’50s and ’60s have long overstayed their welcome.

Saanich farmer Rob Galey noted that while the geese have been an ongoing issue for 30 years, the problem has exacerbated significantly since the geese began foraging at night three years or so ago. Going out in the middle of the night to chase them away is not a popular option with people nearby because of the noise they make, he explained.

“In the early spring they can take out an acre of early crops in an hour,” Galey said. “It’s a huge financial hardship, extra workload and lots of mental stress. The mental stress is what really starts to get us us.”

It’s a constant battle that involves covering seedlings in the spring, installing fences, and running stringer lines to keep the geese from landing. “In the fall when they start to put on their winter fat, they wreak havoc with potatoes and carrots.”

Saanich Coun. Colin Plant, who chairs of the Capital Regional Board, agrees the geese have become a scourge on local farmers.

“The farmers have asked for help every year since I was elected five-and-a-half years ago,” Plant said.

ALSO READ: Regional district’s Esquimalt land sale means $3.7M back to municipalities

“The geese have a significant impact on our parks and waters as well,” he said, adding that closures of Beaver and Elk lakes are often caused by geese droppings in the water. Efforts to get the federal and provincial governments to take on the problem as part of wildlife management responsibilities have not received a positive response, Plant noted, so he’s asking CRD staff to prepare a report on a regional solution. The CRD Parks Committee unanimously approved a motion that would have staff work with farmers on a report.

“What would it look like, what would it cost,” Plant explained. “It would likely be through an egg-addling program. We need to do this across the entire region because geese don’t respect municipal borders.”

Galey said it’s good to see the Capital Regional District looking into the situation. “I’m glad someone is finally dealing with it. Someone has to take responsibility.”

He doesn’t believe egg-addling, which involves shaking eggs in their nests to stop the embryo from developing, will yield noticeable results. “But something has to be done immediately,” Galey stressed.

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said even though Colwood doesn’t have a lot of farmland, he has heard more complaints about the geese since they have started to remain in the city all year. “I strongly support the CRD taking a regional approach to a solution,” Martin said.

The CRD board will decide on approving whether to go ahead on preparing a report at the Aug. 12 meeting.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Farming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Graham Walker of the Saanich Traffic Safety Unit recreates an incident involving a driver who police say attempted to film the scene of a crash while driving up Highway 17. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Police track down driver caught filming accident scene on Pat Bay Highway

Driver issued $368 ticket, points on their licence

Kwick’kanum (Eric Pelkey), a hereditary chief of the Tsawout Nation, addressed the crowd that gathered at Mount Newton Cross Road and Highway 17 on Oct. 23. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway reopens after rally supporting Mi’kmaq fishing rights

Supporters call on government to recognize Indigenous treaty rights

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is looking for this man, who they say stole a charity box. (Facebook/Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Crime Stoppers looking for man who stole charity box from Saanich grocery store

Anyone with information asked to call Crime Stoppers

The 21st annual Japanese Cultural Fair streams online Oct. 24 from noon to 3 p.m. (Facebook/Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)
Esquimalt’s Japanese Cultural Fair takes tastes, experiences and cultures online

21st annual free event streams Saturday, Oct. 24 starting at noon

Victoria High School. (Black Press Media file photo)
Alumni Association abandons plans for eight-lane track at Vic High

SD61 spokesperson says easement, which makes 8-lane track impossible, left out of consultation

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson,  BC NDP leader John Horgan and BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau. (File)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Climate change and sustainability promises from the parties

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

Most Read