Vancouver Park Board commissioner Stuart Mackinnon said on Wednesday that the birds became an issue after they moved into Thornton Park during 2013 because their former home became a parking lot.
“The geese used to be behind Pacific Central Station in an area that was unused,” he said. “The station displaced them when they created a parking lot, so they simply flew over the station and came to Thornton Park.”
Normally, geese hanging around a park memorial wouldn’t be an issue, but the unique thing about the Marker of Change memorial is that they’re made of 14 individual stone benches, each with a depression in the middle of the seat that collects water.
Those little pools are known as “pools of tears,” and each bench represents an individual victim in the Montreal massacre. Since there aren’t any other sources of water in the park, those benches became the geese’s watering holes, and are now littered with feathers and feces.
“I was a student in Concordia University in Montreal at the time of the shooting so this is something that’s actually very close to my heart,” Mackinnon said.
Dealing with the issue isn’t as easy as picking the geese up and moving them.
“If we wanted to pick them up and take them someplace else, the movement of wildlife falls under federal jurisdiction and you have to get a permit from the ministry,” he said.
“They won’t issue a permit unless they’ve seen you’ve tried everything in your power to dissuade the geese from being there.”
Mackinnon has submitted a motion with the board for staff to figure out what can be done, since geese are also a problem for other parks in Vancouver.