Seagull expert inspects Scotch Line
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | July 27, 2017
A pest control expert paid a visit to the Scotch Line landfill July 20 as part of a Minden Hills township reaction to a Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) crackdown at the site.
Chris Brown, from Toronto-based Rentokil Steritech, who is also a cottager in Gooderham, inspected the site, according to Ivan Ingram, the township’s environment and property operations manager.
Ingram said a report will likely be tabled to council’s Aug. 31 meeting.
The visit followed the highlighting of a seagull problem at the landfill that is affecting residents of nearby Mountain Lake.
Mountain Lake Property Owners Association president Howard Clarke told The Highlander this week that the seagulls have been a problem for a number of years.
“To be exact, the south end and shoreline is where the problem is. Hundreds of seagulls flock to the landfill site a few kilometers away and then fly to our lake to create a mess to put it in simple terms. The owners at that end of the lake are in constant distress because of this pattern of behavior.”
Councillor Jeanne Anthon raised the issue at a council meeting July 17.
Addressing the need for vermin control at the landfill, Anthon said the plan had been for daily cover “but that has not worked and the neighbourhood is really suffering because of it.”
Anthon went on to say she has “concerns with further discouraging seagulls from the landfill site … that they might take up more permanent residence on Mountain Lake and become even more of a health issue.”
Cambium Inc’s Dave Bucholtz said council staff have looked at seagull control measures in the past and the township may have to take action, such as falconry or install a sound blasting system.
It’s not a new issue as Ingram prepared a report for council June 9, 2016 about possible seagull solutions. Council did not act on any of his recommendations at that time.
The report was written after the MLPOA expressed concerns in the summer of 2015.
In the report, Ingram said staff had been covering the landfill each day, at the end of the shift, since October of 2015 but “the birds are still gathering during the hours of operation to scavenge.” He said the purpose of cover is to keep the smell down but also deter scavenging animals, such as bears, vermin and seagulls and to minimize debris scattered by the wind.
“Staff has researched methods used to deter seagulls, which include falcons, sound blasters, bird spiders, pike stands, elevated mesh blankets, coyote/owl decoys, bobble head cats and large red balloons. All of these methods are temporary with the seagulls eventually returning to the site,” Ingram said.
In the report, costs ranged from $1,005.47 for a sound blasting system to $47,460-a-year for a falconer.
Highlands Environmental is contracted to provide landfill attendants to Scotch Line. A consultant to them, Brigitte Gall, told Anthon at the meeting they are compacting but not providing daily cover. Ingram responded that there is always cover available on site and had no further comment.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.