Seagull problem worsens on Mountain Lake
By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 21, 2017
Flocks of seagulls continue to weak havoc on residents of Mountain Lake, and the problem is only getting worse, one resident says.
George Steeves made a delegation to Minden Hills councillors during their Sept. 14 committee-of-the-whole meeting, asking the township do something about what he says is a growing seagull population that feasts at the Scotch Line landfill and then heads to nearby Mountain Lake for some rest and relaxation, littering docks, boats, beaches and the lake itself with their feces.
“The gulls at Mountain Lake are directly related to the gulls at the dump,” Steeves said, explaining that if the flock leaves the lake, then its members are over at the landfill eating.
Steeves, who made a similar presentation to councillors some two and half years ago, said while it was once mostly residents at the south end of lake who had to deal with the unwelcome guests, that it’s now an issue for half of the lake.
“There are days when you can’t swim in Mountain Lake,” he said.
He emphasized that he wasn’t talking about a few, or even a few dozen birds, but hundreds upon hundreds of them.
Steeves said he was concerned not just about water quality and property values, but also human health, since seagull feces contain a bacteria that can cause respiratory infections.
He said the area around Mountain Lake also gets littered with chicken bones, garbage bags and other items that have come from the landfill.
“It’s no longer an issue where you have a few residents complaining,” Steeves said.
He said the solution to the problem was the remediation of the landfill.
In June, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change issued an order that the township remediate the Scotch Line landfill, citing a number of issues including the presence of leachate on the property, and the municipality is working on a 25-year master plan for the site.
Councillors told Steeves they were working on the issue.
“Nobody thinks it’s a bunch or people complaining,” said Councillor Pam Sayne. “All of us see it as problematic.”
“We’re trying to help out with this situation,” said Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch.
Property and environmental operations manager Ivan Ingram said a report dealing with the seagull issue would be coming forward at an upcoming meeting.
“It was held back [from today’s meeting] because of the reeve and CAO [chief administrative officer] not being here to take that in,” Ingram said.
Past staff reports have listed possible solutions for dealing with the seagulls at the landfill, including the use of sound cannons and falconry.