News Local

Stop birds who poop on monument: Committee

By Rosemary Newton

Geese gather at the Marker of Change.

Geese gather at the Marker of Change. SUBMITTED

A committee wants to relocate geese from Vancouver’s Thornton Park to stop the birds from pooping on a monument which honours girls and women impacted by violence.

Members of the Women’s Monument Committee say a flock of geese were displaced by nearby construction and pushed into the park in 2013. The number has grown to five flocks of 67 geese that continuously defecate on the Marker of Change.

“I really feel it undermines the fight against violence against women, you end up looking at something different than the symbol of the monument,” said committee member Chris McDowell.

The monument’s 14 granite benches commemorate the 14 women murdered in the L’Ecole Polytechnique massacre in 1989. Geese are drawn to water that gathers in divots in the benches that are designed to fill with rain to represent tears.

Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon presented a motion last year to address the problem. It passed but there has been little action. He said relocating geese requires federal permits, but is cheaper and more humane than ongoing maintenance.

“We need to find a long-term, permanent solution.”

The problem will worsen, he said, when more geese are displaced with the nearby construction of a new St. Paul’s Hospital slated for 2018.

“It’s not just geese that get displaced, it’s the terrestrial animals as well.”

In addition to immediate relocation, the committee would also like to see the city enact a policy requiring developers relocate wildlife upon construction.

“The city should put the onus on the developer to relocate wildlife when they develop,” said Mcdowell.

City Coun. Adriane Carr said she would like to see the city hold developers accountable for safety relocating wildlife.

“If there’s a cost associated, it should be cost of development.”

She added the city has put a lot of effort into keeping streets clean, and the same effort should be extended to monuments.