Vernon city staff have begun the permitting process for a geese cull that should take up to four weeks to complete.
Council voted in favour of the cull at its Jan. 25 meeting, garnering support and flak from constituents and visitors.
A budget of $41,000 to cull up to 150 birds was discussed in council, but a new report breaks down costs in more detail and asks councillors to authorize a budget of $40,000 for up to as many as 250 birds, depending on the city’s geese management plan.
The management plan is one component a hired expert will assist in during the permit processes. An animal care application and general wildlife permit must also be completed. City staff estimate the plan and permits with assistance from the expert could cost $7,000.
If approved by the provincial and federal government — which could take up to four months — a qualified contractor would be hired to complete the roundup of the geese.
The roundup would occur in June, once the geese have lost their flight feathers, or molted. This way, the roundup captures both adult geese and their young, the report to council reads.
“Most of the geese will be resident geese however the round up may include a limited number of migratory geese,” the report reads.
Roundup teams will consist of nine or 10 qualified staff, many in kayaks that will cover the lake and aid in corralling geese into a specified area as per the management plan.
“The area that the kayaks will cover will encompass all of the beaches including Paddlewheel, Lakeshore and Kin Beach,” the report reads. “The geese at Polson Park will not be rounded up as a lot of these geese will fly to larger bodies of water before they molt.”
From the lake, the geese will be corralled onto land and into a trailer.
The management plan will specify how many birds could be retrieved with the area based on past years’ numbers — the report said up to 250 geese could be proposed, costing around $27,000.
Carcasses will be disposed of at the landfill. Federal regulation does not allow for the distribution of meat. Discarding carcasses is estimated to cost around $4,000.
City of Vernon staff has made inquires into the possibility of using the McKay reservoir as a possible location for the hunting of geese, the report to council reads, but an amendment to the firearms bylaw would be required and if that were to go through, the Wildlife Act limits the number of hunters allowed, types of species and so forth.
“Confirmation with British Columbia Conservation office would be required,” the report says.
Vernon councillors will discuss the memo at Monday’s meeting, Feb. 8, and consider authorizing a budget of $40,000.
At least two petitions in protest have been started on change.org. Save the Geese in Vernon, organized by Amanda Peterson, has garnered more than 680 signatures as of Feb. 5, while another 830-plus have signed Peyton Romeril’s Stop Vernon BC’s Council Members from Killing Canadian Geese.