Trail addresses pigeon problem

Care Pest and Wildlife Control Ltd has been hired to capture and relocate Trail's pigeons.

On Monday night, Trail council unanimously agreed to send the pigeons packing.

Care Pest and Wildlife Control Ltd. Of Burnaby, has been hired by the city to carry out the pigeon control program for $25,000.

“The city has been dealing with an ongoing problem of pigeons for some time,” explained David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer and financial administrator for the city.

The funding was included as a high priority in the 2013 capital budget, he said.

Warren Proulx, engineering technician for the City of Trail and administrator of the Care Pest contract, explained in a memo that the steel bird spikes that were installed along the entire length of the bridge arches by the Ministry of Transport, only solved the unsanitary feces problem on the bridge sidewalk.

“The pigeon population continues to grow,” he said.

Care Pest and Wildlife Control Ltd., submitted a proposal to the city and recommended that the best course of action would be to start trapping the birds, by enticing them with corn feed.

“Small traps will be in three locations, two at the Memorial Centre and one at city hall,” explained Perehudoff.

Every two days the live pigeons will be transported to a larger trap at the public works yard until the holding cage is to capacity, he said.

“Care Pest will then relocate the birds to the lower mainland,” said Perehudoff.

“Everything will be done on a humane basis.”

Proulx said that once the birds are in Vancouver, they will be donated to a pigeon trainer, and be trained for racing.

Care Pest is prepared to start this contract in early March, and estimate three months to reduce or eliminate the pigeon problem, said Proulx.

“I can speak from my own experience in a downtown workplace,” said Coun. Kevin Jolly.

“We’ve actually had to bring in extra custodial staff to clean up the mess around the exterior of the building.”

Jolly said that the birds have started roosting and are causing unsanitary and unsightly issues.

“If we neglect this issue it will become exponential in scope further down the road.”

While all councillors agreed to reduce the number of pigeons, opinions divided when the second part of the recommendation, a bylaw amendment to enforce a fine for feeding the birds, came to discussion.

Coun. Sean Mackinlay said that the enforceability of the bylaw is impossible.

“The food scraps in open dumpsters in downtown Trail is the problem,” he said.

“It’s not coming from individuals feeding them.”

Coun. Gordon DeRosa agreed.

“I understand the concept of reducing the number of pigeons,” he said.

“But it is draconian to tell people that they can’t feed birds.”

The councilors were outvoted, and a fine can now be issued to bylaw-breakers who continue to feed the birds.