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Letter: My Nelson Visit — Caked in Goose Poop

To The Editor:

Dear Nelson:

I love your city.  My wife and two kids have been visiting Nelson for the past six years.  We come up every summer from Los Angeles to enjoy your truly one-of-a-kind town. 

We love swimming in Kootenay Lake, floating down the Slocan River, eating out on Baker Street, morning coffee at Oso Negro, after supper binges at Dairy Queen, listening for the CP train roar through town, people watching during Shambala, climbing Pulpit Rock, warming up at Ainsworth, watching local theater at the Capital, and we even love your oddly located Wal-Mart– right on Kootney Lake. 

Nelson is a rare gem.  It’s a special city with special people. With only 10,000 inhabitants, Nelson is busting with amenities and high quality choices for its residents and visitors.  Your small mountain town has the same feel and appeal of any major city’s best neighborhood.  It’s by far and away Canada’s best small town. 

After years of visiting Nelson, I have only one question, one thing I don’t understand.

Goose Poop -- So much goose poop!

Lakeside soccer fields and baseball diamonds are covered in goose poop. The beach at lakeside is covered in goose poop.  The grass area by the playground where everyone sits and enjoys concerts is covered in goose poop. 

Nelson has these wonderful public spaces and there is bird crap covering every inch of them. 

Playing sports, swimming and listening to music while continuously stepping in goose poop is not normal.  It’s gross.  It’s unclean. It’s perhaps more bizarre than having a Wal-Mart located on the city’s best lakefront land. 

The first year we visited Nelson, I thought our baseball game at Lakeside was probably just poorly timed with some geese that flew in right before us.  But year after year of fielding ground balls covered in poop has made me realize this is standard lawn care for the city of Nelson. 

I see kids kicking soccer balls to each other and at the same time goose poop is flying into their faces. Teen-agers share hugs and first kisses in the grassy area at Lakeside while rolling around in poop.  Swimmers dive into the water and walk back to their towels hoping to side step the land mines of goose poop on the beach. 

As my wife says, “it’s all so disgusting.” 

The city of Nelson takes such good care of these public spaces, so I don’t understand why they wouldn’t also take care of the goose poop.  Why don’t the residents of Nelson demand it? Why haven’t the soccer mom’s started a riot yet? 

A local resident told me one year the geese are just too difficult to chase off, so the city gave up trying.  If that’s true, that’s the lamest excuse from a city hall anywhere.  

This same resident also told me about an interesting solution to the goose poop problem.  Here it is:  Nelson has a homeless population, which lacks access to food.  If you harvest all of the geese that enter Lakeside Park, you can feed the homeless and eliminate the poop on the athletic fields and beach. 

I’m no politician but this seems like a win-win. Feed the hungry and clean up the goose poop.  I can hear the chants now: “Four more years. For more years.”

I looked up if you can actually eat Canadian Geese.  The answer is yes, you can. Many cities are already doing it to control an unruly goose population.

As someone who visits and cares about the city of Nelson, I challenge the mayor and city council to kill two birds with one stone.  Feed the homeless and clean up the goose poop in the city’s best parks. The solution is waddling right in front of you. 

See you next summer! 

Todd Allen, Los Angeles, CA