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Councillor says nothing can be done about the crows in Charlottetown

Hundreds of black crows descend on the ice along the Charlottetown boardwalk in this file photo. - Jim Day
Hundreds of black crows descend on the ice along the Charlottetown boardwalk in this file photo. - Jim Day - Jim Day

There is nothing the City of Charlottetown can do about the prevalence of crows in its downtown neighbourhoods.

Coun. Terry MacLeod
Coun. Terry MacLeod

That was the message from Coun. Terry MacLeod, chairman of the city’s environment and sustainability committee, following a recent meeting of the group at City Hall.

“We sat around the table and discussed it and we felt that, basically, it’s a provincial problem,’’ MacLeod said Monday.

“(Provincial) Fish and Wildlife need to deal with that.’’

MacLeod raised the crow issue at the committee meeting following a request from Coun. Mitchell Tweel at the January public meeting of council.

“Crows are creating havoc in the heart of the city,’’ Tweel said during the council meeting.

“I’m talking a 10-to-15-to 20-block radius. I want to reiterate that it’s time to devise a strategy to work efficiently with the crows and we need to devise a communications strategy so that people aren’t feeding the crows.’’

Crows are traditionally known to roost in Victoria Park and the Brighton neighbourhood. But residents in the Hillsborough Park said they were started to see them in large numbers as well.

Beth Hoar, the city’s former parkland conservationist, prepared a report that indicated the winged creatures have a long history in the city, with reports of the birds dating back to the late 1800s. While they’re known to roost in Victoria Park, Hoar said it isn’t uncommon for them to move around to different residential areas.

At the moment, the city doesn’t have any measures in place to try to deter the crows or control the population. There was a pilot project in 2009 where it loaned out noise-making devices called wailers to residents as a way to deter the birds.

The short video below shows crows over downtown Charlottetown last year.

“All the wailers did was chase them from one side (of the city) to the other,’’ MacLeod said.

“It makes noise but once you stop that noise they come right back again. And, if the noise does work they just end up going into someone else’s neighbourhood. There’s nothing you can do. We’re at a standstill. We have asked other communities what they’re doing and basically (we’re being told) there’s nothing you can do.’’

MacLeod suggested kicking the issue over to Coun. Alanna Jankov’s strategic priorities and intergovernmental co-operation committee.

“She could have discussions through intergovernmental affairs with the province and hopefully maybe they can come up with something,’’

MacLeod said if a bylaw were to be created it would have to come to Jankov’s committee anyway but even that doesn’t answer all the questions.

“You can have a bylaw but who’s going to enforce it?’’

The following issues were also discussed the recent environment and sustainability meeting:

  • Changes are being discussed for the intersection at George George and Fitzroy streets to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Changes could involve narrowing the intersection by adding curbing to slow traffic down
  • Committee also discussed improving pedestrian-cyclist connections on Mount Edward Road, Confederation Trail, Norwood Road, St. Peters Road and Beach Grove Road
  • Committee also mulling over a long-term plan on active transportation for Belvedere Avenue and Capital Drive
  • The Brookie Award, given to an individual or organization demonstrating commitment and leadership in urban watershed will be give to a lucky recipient at next Monday’s public council meeting by the Ellen’s Creek Watershed Group


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