A Canada goose shares the beach at Cultus Lake. The birds – or what they leave behind – are causing increasing health concerns.

Goose poop a vexing problem

Cultus Lake Park Board is now considering a range of solutions, said board chair Sacha Peter.

Beaches covered in geese feces has become a dirty little problem local municipalities are scrambling to clean up.

Cultus Lake Park Board is now considering a range of solutions, said board chair Sacha Peter.

“The board is being forced to look at this now because the Canada goose population has increased dramatically at Cultus for whatever reason,” he said.

It could have environmental consequences for the Cultus Lake area, a recreational jewel that attracts more than two million people a year from across the Lower Mainland.

Park board staff have started researching everything from equipment with raking action or a vacuum, to a structure that imitates reeds to discourage roosting.

The vexing topic has recently attracted several letters to the editor from Progress readers put off by the soiled public beaches.

“Our big concern is that it may gravitate from an annoyance to a health issue,” said Peter. “Dealing with poop always means bacteria, which can get into the water.”

Some beaches in the Okanagan have even been forced to close because of it.

“With so much flat ground they love to hang around the beaches at Cultus and it means dealing with a large amount of fecal matter,” said the chair.

One of the troublesome aspects is visitors or residents who actually feed the wild geese, making them human-habituated.

“That’s part of why they stick around,” said Peter.

But any solution has to be weighed with a cost-benefit analysis, he underlined.

When Harrison Hot Springs Mayor Ken Becotte took the call from the Progress reporter, he had just talking been talking with a fellow council member about the goose feces situation at Harrison Lake beach.

“It’s at the top of our list,” said Becotte. “But it’s such a big problem to overcome.”

How big?

“It’s severe. There seems to be a larger goose population now, and they don’t seem to be bothered by either people or dogs. They take it all in stride.”

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs staff is also conducting some research on what works and what doesn’t with regard to geese, he said, because they’re cognizant of the fact that many municipalities are struggling to lay waste to the waste problem.

“I’ve heard in some areas they’ve introduced swans. From what I’m told the geese won’t stay when the swans are around.”

The problems with feces removal machines is they are only effective to a certain extent, and it’s labour-intensive.

“You’d have to have someone out there doing it constantly,” said Becotte.

There’s a grass fertilizer that reportedly makes the grass taste bad to the geese, which might be worth a try, he said.

“We’re definitely trying to come up with a solution. Maybe the answer is a combination of things.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

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

Just Posted

LETTER: MLA responds to story on flooding in the Columbia valley

‘My constituents can be assured that I will always work hard for them’

Chilliwack volunteer recognized by peers after being ineligible for volunteer-of-the-year award

Members of Back Country Horsemen honoured Rose Schroeder for her hard work, dedication to community

UPDATE: Sto:lo protest in support of Wet’suwet’en shuts down busiest intersection in Chilliwack

Protesters escorted by RCMP in organized event that included speeches and songs at Luckakuck/Vedder

Vocal groups come together for intimate concert in Chilliwack

Belle Voci and the Chilliwack Children’s and Youth Choir will be performing at St John’s Anglican

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Feb. 17 to 23

Protesters barricade Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of B.C. budget unveiling

Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion have blocked the Langford driveway

Suspect in Surrey forcible confinement arrested in Toronto

Constable Richard Wright, of the Surrey RCMP, said William Daniels-Sey was arrested on Feb. 16

Budget 2020: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas

All soda, vending machine drinks will be subject to higher PST

Budget 2020: B.C. unveils new grant for students, phases out debt-relief program

For the first time, diploma, certificate students qualify for yearly post-secondary grant

2020 Budget: ICBC shortfall continues ahead of new rate-reduction plan

ICBC operating with $91-million deficit for 2019-2020 fiscal year

Budget 2020: B.C. NDP taps top tax bracket for more revenue

Minimum wage set to pass $15 an hour by 2021

Budget 2020: Not much new for B.C.’s struggling forest industry

Focus on wood waste utilization, efficiency, ministry budget cut

Skull reconstruction gives new insight into unknown man found in B.C. cemetery

RCMP released a 3-D skull reconstruction of a man who was found dead on July 2, 1998

66% of parents think unaffordability will push their kids out of Metro Vancouver: poll

Survey sees uptick in parents feeling the financial stressors of living in the Lower Mainland

Most Read