La­goon geese poor neigh­bours

Farmer wants mu­nic­i­pal­ity to re­pair fence at sewage la­goon to pre­vent crop dam­age

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - NEWS - DON CROSBY

A farmer and a landowner want Ar­ran-Elder­slie to fix a fence at a mu­nic­i­pal sewage la­goon to keep hun­dreds of Canada Geese from de­stroy­ing crops in the spring.

Adam De Visser rents land from his neigh­bour, Mervyn Kuepfer, next to the la­goon at Lot 28, Con­ces­sion 1, in the former Elder­slie Town­ship.

Both men at­tended Ar­ranElder­slie coun­cil on Tues­day with a re­quest for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to pay for new fenc­ing.

The fence that sep­a­rates the la­goon and the farm fields has fallen into dis­re­pair over the years and no longer pre­vents geese from mov­ing from the la­goon onto the fields.

The prob­lems arises in the spring when the geese are moult­ing and can’t fly. They walk through the di­lap­i­dated fence onto the fields and dev­as­tate the young crops, said De Visser.

He told coun­cil that in the past few years the birds have caused $10,000 worth of dam­age.

Kuepfer said he es­ti­mates there are be­tween 500 and 1,000 birds at a time.

De Visser said it’s the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect his crops be­cause of the pres­ence of the la­goon. The fence, which would cover 250-350 me­tres, is es­ti­mated to cost $5,000.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity of­fered to split the cost of the fence, ar­gu­ing that un­der the line fence act that’s the ex­tent of its re­spon­si­bil­ity.

De Visser said the line fence act was brought in at a time that farm­ers had live­stock on both sides of a bound­ary fence to pro­tect.

“That’s not the case anymore; this is not a nor­mal line fence sit­u­a­tion. Here they have a la­goon and it’s in their in­ter­est from a li­a­bil­ity stand­point,” he said.

“We’re not break­ing any laws,” said Deputy-mayor MarkDavis.

Davis told Kuepfer that he knew of the ex­is­tence of the la­goon when he bought the prop­erty.

Coun. Doug Bell said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity wants to be good neigh­bour.

But Kuepfer and De Visser said that in­cludes the mu­nic­i­pal­ity pay­ing more than 50 per cent of the cost of a new fence.

“I think they should put the fence up, the whole thing,” said De Visser.

“I think the stakes are a lit­tle higher for them . . . if they are look­ing out for the in­ter­ests of their cit­i­zens it’s in their in­ter­est to do that” said De Visser.

Mayor Paul Ea­gle­son has asked for a staff re­port to coun­cil. In the mean­time he’s sug­gest­ing coun­cil­lors visit the la­goon and get a look at the sit­u­a­tion.

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