A SQUAWK IN THE PARK
City says high-traffic areas are cleaned but it’s not long before poop reappears
A man walks past a Canada goose lying in the middle of a walking path along Windsor’s riverfront on Friday. Hundreds of geese that leave piles of droppings in the path have created a problem for visitors to the downtown parkland.
Welcome to Poopville.
While there is no official sign with such a proclamation, Windsor’s prominent riverfront has become exactly that — thanks to hundreds of geese who have declared the parkland home.
A tour of riverfront trails, paths and sidewalks Friday showed all but a few areas noticeably covered with goose droppings.
The worst were natural habitat areas created on the east end in Great Western Park near the foot of Marentette Avenue and on the west end in Assumption Park close to the Ambassador Bridge.
“It’s gross,” said Wayne Pilutti of Windsor, who visits the riverfront a few times a week for a walk. “It’s all up and down the sidewalks. It’s pretty bad this year. The city needs to clean this, just power wash it or something.”
Even pavement around the Vietnam War Memorial was littered with goose poop, including both the concrete Canadian and American flags on each side.
“It’s a memorial, you would think that should at least be cleaned,” Pilutti said.
But the goose poop issue is one which cities across North America struggle with, said the city’s park and recreation boss Jan Wilson.
“They like water or open grass areas,” she said. “It’s not just our riverfront parks, but we have them in parks around the city.
“We do our best to keep the hightraffic areas clean, but it’s not long after before its filled with goose droppings again. They are wildlife and we do need to share the planet with wildlife.”
There were several first-time visitors to the riverfront on Friday. A few, asking not to be identified, said they did not mind the infiltration of geese and their poop.
“It’s not great, but I really like the geese,” said Irina Mutiu of London, who went for a walk on the riverfront while her kids were at the downtown aquatic centre.
Others tourists were a bit shocked and not so happy to be closely watching their step.
“It’s our first time to Windsor,” said Ken Kitten of Milwaukee, who was walking with his wife Mary on the riverfront near the Vietnam memorial. “I know they are Canadian geese, but I don’t think you need so much of this part of the goose around here.
“When you look at the memorial, it makes it worse when you see something that is supposed to be respectful. You can’t walk in the grass and we didn’t want to go by the flags because it’s so covered by goose (droppings). It would be nice if they could figure out something to keep it clean.”
Milwaukee faced the same problem recently with an abundance of geese in municipal parks, the Kittens said.
Officials decided to “harvest” the large birds and donate them for food to area food banks and homeless shelters through the city’s hunger task force, the couple said.
It was suggested a couple of years ago in a report to Windsor’s council that if the city wanted to move geese from the riverfront that relocation, barriers or scare tactics could be utilized. Otherwise, the city would have to buy a sidewalk sweeper and dedicate a worker to solely keeping the riverfront clean.
But no action was taken by council because it was determined that relocation or forcing the birds from any specific area rarely proved successful as they would soon return, Wilson said.
The city’s marina is another trouble spot for goose poop, she said.
“We use power washers and our existing equipment as best we can,” Wilson said. “We also have weddings in some of our parks. It can be really frustrating for everyone because right after you clean it, the droppings quickly return.”
It’s gross. It’s all up and down the sidewalks. It’s pretty bad this year. The city needs to clean this, just power wash it or something.
Goose poop litters the shoreline along a popular recreational portion of the Windsor riverfront Friday.