It’s not a new problem. Nor is it an easy one. Canada’s national bird takes over the grass and beachfront every summer in Harrison Hot Springs.
It’s raised the ire of at least one area resident this summer. Terry Blaker sent an email to the Village office last week lamenting the plethora of poop.
“The area around the lagoon is filthy with goose poo,” he wrote. “You have to get ride of the geese.”
Village Mayor Leo Facio explains that they do have a few means at their disposal to deal with the birds. The Village takes preventative steps such as speakers on the band stage that sends out a call when geese fly over to encourage them to move on. For the geese that do land, they have a machine that picks up all the droppings Monday to Friday to help deal with the mess left behind.
“We’ve tried many different things over the years [to get rid of them],” says Facio. “But it’s a natural setting for them. We do what we can.”
Facio adds they also have showers on the beach to help with concerns of swimmer’s itch, a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to certain parasites that infect some birds and mammals.
Canada geese are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The Act prohibits people from harming birds except under specified conditions. According to Environment Canada, there are a number of management tools available by permit, including destroying eggs, relocating birds and killing them under specific circumstances. Environment Canada urges municipal governments to prevent citizens from feeding wild waterfowl and consider geese preferences when making future landscape planning decisions.
Facio urges people to not feed the geese, which only encourages them to stick around.
As for Blaker, he says it seems the resident population of Canada geese has “exploded.” He says while he will probably take his grandchildren to the beach again this year, it will not be to the lagoon as that appeared more goose-graced than the beach in front of the resort.
Blaker also questioned the water quality of the lagoon. However, according to Fraser Health’s latest water quality testings, the lagoon is well within the “satisfactory” conditions, with a rating of 6-20 geometric mean of less than or equal to 200 E. coli bacteria / 100 ml. An unsatisfactory rating would be 200 or more. All areas tested within and around Harrison met the ‘satisfactory’ water quality testings, such as Harrison Lake beach left of the lagoon with a rating of 5, Sasquatch Park’s Green Point at 10 and Hicks Lake at 11.