Lagoon geese poor neighbours
Farmer wants municipality to repair fence at sewage lagoon to prevent crop damage
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.