Seagull solution will have to wait
By Chad Ingram
Published Oct. 5, 2017
Minden Hills councillors will defer a conversation about how they intend to deal with problem seagulls at the Scotch Line landfill and nearby Mountain Lake to their 2018 budget deliberations.
Potential solutions to flocks of seagulls that feed at the landfill and litter the nearby lake with feces and garbage have been discussed by council for years.
Earlier this month, there was a renewed call for council to do something about the issue from a Mountain Lake resident, who said the problem is worsening, with more residents unable to enjoy their properties because of the birds and their droppings.
During a Sept. 28 council meeting, environmental and property operations manager Ivan Ingram presented a report to council with details of a meeting he’d had with a company that specializes in the reduction of seagull populations.
The company, Rentokil Steritech, uses various techniques such as egg oiling and the removal of nests, as well as scare tactics, to reduce seagull populations. It would also inspect nests and document the number of eggs.
“We went on site . . . and tried a couple of the scare tactics, that were effective in the short-term,” Ingram told councillors.
Ingram stressed there’s no guarantee such measures would prevent the birds from returning, and that if they leave the landfill, it means they will end up somewhere else.
“There is no guarantee these tactics will stop these birds from going anywhere they want,” he said.
Ingram said, for effectiveness, undertaking the services for at least two years is recommended by the company.
The services would cost $24,000 a year.
Some councillors seemed taken aback by that figure.
“You are describing some extreme measures at huge costs,” said Councillor Jeanne Anthon.
Any dealings with the seagull population will require a permit from Wildlife Canada and the township will proceed with the application for a permit, which would need to be renewed on a yearly basis.
Individual permits specify what may or may not be done in a certain situation, and some do allow the killing of some birds – usually the lead, or “scout” seagulls.
Reeve Brent Devolin, who said the discussion should be deferred to 2018 budget talks, said the scope of the permit may determine what kind of options the township can enact.
“They may limit what we may or may not do, that it may make the decision in its own right,” Devolin said.
The township will also issue a request for proposals, to see what other kinds of offers it receives from pest control companies.
Potential seagull solutions in past staff reports have included sound cannons, drones, ultra-sonic sound-makers and falconry.