Morningstar Golf Club in Parksville has an issue with excess goose poop.
General manager Barrie McWha said this week the club has been dealing with 250 to 300 Canada geese daily.
“They poop everywhere, their feces smells and it gets tracked into the restaurant and golf shop,” McWha said. “Our staff drag mats over the poop, hardly a pleasant task, to try to break it up so we can cut the grass. Then they get to clean all the poop off their mowers. When it is wet, the poop is a slip and fall hazard, aside from not being very pleasant from which to play golf shots.”
They received permission from Environment Canada to locate the nests to addle the eggs, said McWha, but volunteers were unsuccessful.
The club applied to Environment Canada and was granted a ‘kill to scare’ permit. It is aimed at discouraging the geese from being on the course by leaving carcasses on site at the entrance to the ponds where the birds gather. The permit allows for shooting no more than 10 birds per week.
“It mandates record keeping of each event and an annual report to the Ministry of Environment Canada,” said McWha. “We must have a licensed firearms person conduct the shoot and we must advise the RCMP in advance. All of these conditions were met on Aug. 2.”
A total of six birds were shot — one on hole No. 4, two on No. 1, one on No. 10 and two on the 18th hole. McWha said it was conducted safely as they made certain there were no people nearby and the birds were herded to an area where the background was clear.
“We distributed the carcasses at six different entry points to ponds and left them there for one day,” said McWha. “Twice after that we planned to shoot again however there were no geese on the course in either case.”
A former member was not in favour of the approach the club is taking to control the goose population on the course.
“I am well aware of the issues caused by the geese, however golf courses serve dual purposes, one of which is a wildlife habitat,” said Sabrina Qureshi, in a letter to the PQB News. She added that a recent newsletter to members, the management stated that the geese “make a serious mess” and they eat the grass “right where golfers walk and play.”
“This rationale would be humorous if it wasn’t being used as an excuse to shoot geese for simply existing,” she said. “I am not questioning the legality of this action as I have been told that the necessary permit and protocols are in place however, I believe it is important that the general public be made aware of what is occurring. It is another example of humans infringing upon the basic right of another species to exist for their own selfish reasons.”
McWha understands the concerns raised by some residents and members but they too do not support killing wildlife randomly.
“I might also point out that Morningstar is a site annually for the bird count and 39 different species of birds were counted on Morningstar during the count day this year,” said McWha. “There are many deer and mink on the property as well.”