Cull the birds
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 6, 2018
The Township of Minden Hills should dispose of the Scotch Line landfill/Mountain Lake seagulls.
Let’s just say it, or, in my case, write it.
During the many years I’ve covered Minden Hills, this issue has raised its pesky, white head again and again.
There have been numerous delegations by residents of Mountain Lake to a series of Minden Hills councils, the most recent last week.
The one before that was last September.
Anyone who is a regular reader of this publication will know the narrative. A very large group of seagulls – several hundreds, perhaps thousands of birds – split their time between the landfill and the south end of Mountain Lake, located close by. It doesn’t seem to be in dispute by anyone that there is a direct link between the landfill, its condition, and the proximity to the lake, that has created a perfect storm; a storm of feathers, feces and garbage that continues to rain down on the lake’s residents.
It was hoped that remediation work that began at the Scotch Line landfill last year would help to mitigate the seagull infestation at Mountain Lake, but based on photographs that were part of one resident’s presentation to council last week, it certainly doesn’t seem like that has been the case.
Those photos showed boats and docks coated with excrement from the gulls, and clouds of birds flying over and resting on the waters of the lake. One resident talked about how her family must clean their swimming area before they allow their children to go into the water, and another said his family doesn’t even use the lake anymore; they just go to the public beach at Twelve Mile Lake, next door.
While previous staff reports have included various suggestions for dealing with the birds – suggestions such as the use of sound cannons or falconry to keep the birds away – council has taken no substantive action on the problem, hence its continuation.
It was perhaps a good idea for Mountain Lake residents to revisit council during an election year, and there was some tough talk at the council table last week.
“At this point, we’ve got to cull the birds, and I totally support that,” Councillor Jean Neville said. Mayor Brent Devolin said it was time for the township to take “aggressive” action.
It’s easy to obtain a licence from the federal government for the destruction of seagulls – one of the delegates last week let council know she has one herself.
It’s true that this course of action may ruffle the proverbial feathers of some community members, thus representing a political liability. However, that political liability seems significantly smaller than the one posed by allowing the situation to continue.
We’re not talking about majestic, endangered animals here. We’re talking about pests; scavengers of the sky.
It’s time for the township to take definitive action on this issue. Use whatever term you like – “dispatch,” “cull,” “dispose.”
Just shoot them. Shoot the damn seagulls.