Canada geese pose issues at Eagle Lake beach
By Darren Lum
August 2, 2016
In the same week the water at Eagle Lake beach was posted as unsafe for bathing by the local health unit, residents voiced concern over the increasing numbers of Canada geese.
Leading the charge is longtime resident Allan Bagg, who was amazed at how many he has seen recently.
“I came down here two mornings in a row there was at least 50 of them right in here,” he said, pointing at the cement pad boat launch beside the beach area.
“They were just feeding up in there and some in here,” pointing at the grassy areas.
This was a couple of weeks ago and he remembers many were smaller than full size adults. He points out the goose poop in the beach and grass area, which he said is a source of food and draws them.
“It’s got to go. Dig it right out. They got to rototill it out of here,” he said.
This will eliminate their main food source for the geese and reduce their numbers and help with reducing the bacteria levels of the beach water, he added.
(The beach is no longer posted and is now open. Testing happens each week. Check www.hkpr.on.ca for up to date readings.)
Area Councillor Walt McKechnie, who lives on the lake a few kilometres from the beach on Moose Lake, said this problem isn’t exclusive to Eagle Lake, as everyone with a lake faces it.
McKechnie said he uses a barrier, plastic owl and his pet cat and dog to help deter geese from feeding on his property, which he said is primarily weeds.
He’s open to any idea to help the situation. One example he cited was rope with reflective tape, which is being used at Haliburton Lake. He said if he had the answer to the goose problem he’d “be a rich man.”
Dysart’s parks and recreation manager Andrew Wilbee, who was on vacation, wasn’t aware of this issue, but in an email said he appreciated Bagg’s rototilling idea and thinks it will make the “beach look and feel better.” He wasn’t sure if it would resolve the problem.
Bagg lives on the lake and has been a resident for 48 years and he has never seen so many geese or postings for unsafe beach water. He’s at a loss for where the geese are coming from.
“If it wasn’t for that beach there I wouldn’t care,” he said. “I don’t even know why I’m caring anyway. I don’t have any kids that use it anymore. [There used to be a reason] when our kids were smaller, but the people that are using it are mostly strangers. I can go in there on a busy day and bet you wouldn’t know two or three people.”
He just loves the area and wants others to do so as well.
“I’m an Eagle Laker. I’ve been here ever since I’ve moved here and I like the little community and I don’t think we should take a back seat. We don’t ask for a whole lot out here,” he said.
Dysart chief administrative officer Tamara Wilbee said she didn’t know how much of a problem the geese were.
She said with the township’s summer swimming lessons held there this year they were more than willing to examine the situation for resolutions.
“We will definitely look into it and see. We’re doing swimming lessons there too so we want it to be safe,” she said.
Wilbee said with the ongoing shoreline rehabilitation demonstration site at Sam Slick Park across from the high school, they are looking at what’s working there to see what could be applied to Eagle Lake.
Wilbee said numerous factors contribute to bacteria levels that lead to beaches being posted by the health unit, but admits no one wants geese and what they leave behind.
“There are so many factors. Geese are just one piece. It definitely doesn’t help when there is goose poop all over the beach,” she said.