Posted By Mark Hoult
Asphodel-Norwood – Council has cleared the way for Madoc falconer Dave Ascott to begin planning a controlled cull of geese from the Norwood Mill Pond.
But council moved ahead cautiously this week, wording a resolution to stress that a go-ahead has been given “to start the process of culling the pond.”
Mill Pond Revitalization committee representative Bill Duke said a cull now appears to be “the only possible solution” to controlling the number of geese on the pond and reducing the levels of fecal contamination. He said the committee would like to know if council is prepared to allow a cull of the geese under conditions that are acceptable to the municipality.
“The first step is to have council agree a cull can take place,” he said.
Using a shotgun to cull geese on a pond within the limits of the village and near residential properties raises the issue of public safety, said Deputy Reeve Terry Low, who asked Ascott to describe how he would go about shooting the birds without endangering nearby residents.
Ascott said he has experience culling birds in similar circumstances. Most of the culling will take place from the centre of the pond, he said, stressing that the shoreline would be beyond the range of the shot from the shotgun.
“The small pellets I would use wouldn't make it to the shore, and if there are people present it would be a no go,” he said.
Councillor Rod Manley said that given “the sensitivity of this issue,” the municipality should inform residents of its plan to kill some of the geese on the pond and even hold a meeting to allow people to comment on the proposed cull. Low agreed the plan would require council to do some public relations work before the cull takes place.
But Duke warned council that giving the cull too much publicity will draw animal rights activists to the village.
“I don't think the cull will be of concern to residents, because they understand we have a health problem. But there are people who are, for whatever reason, very emotional about this issue and will come from far and wide to stop this. The activists are very militant, and they will stop it.”
Duke suggested council proceed without making a big announcement about when the cull will take place.
Ascott, who used an eagle last year to help keep geese away from the pond, said the cull would likely take place sometime in September after the start of goose hunting season. He said he would use both an eagle and a shotgun to cull the geese, shooting at the birds on the water and always in a safe direction.
“The general proposal of the goose control program at the Norwood Mill Pond for 2009 would be to encourage and prevent the geese from using the pond as their sanctuary by removing any sense of security from the pond during this period of heavy usage from early September to mid-November,” Ascott said in his proposal for the controlled cull.
And Duke stressed the cull would be “a business transaction” between Ascott and the municipality, not a hunt or a sports shoot.
Click on title above to go to the LoveCanadaGeese website to see how you can help; http://www.hallofshame.lovecanadageese.com/norwood.html