Dartmouth has a problem with pigeons and their droppings.
“They’re literally pooping in the lake,” said Emma Wattie, a water resource specialist with the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Feces from pigeons that roost under a bridge along Highway 111, between Lake Banook and Lake Micmac, has been identified as one of the bacteria sources in the water.
“There’s no barrier underneath, the bridge is essentially a throughway from the old canal system, the Shubenacadie Canal,” said Wattie. “Birds are literally roosting and their feces is entering the water.”
“There are hundreds of pigeons roosting underneath there,” said Jim Hunter, an environmental risk and compliance specialist with the municipality.
“It’s not only an environmental issue with the lake, it’s a problem for the paddlers as well going underneath the bridge.”
The municipality plans to force the pigeons out by installing environmentally friendly bird netting.
“It’s a nylon mesh, very fine mesh, that’ll keep any birds of any size in this area out and that way they won’t be able to roost any longer in that location,” said Hunter.
The project is expected to cost about $175,000 and will take four-to-six weeks to complete. The first step is for crews to clean and disinfect the entire underside of the bridge.
“The ultimate goal is that we have the pigeons roosting somewhere else — not under the bridge,” said Sam Austin, the area councillor.
“You think about that bridge, it’s not a natural environment, I mean a pigeon would maybe (roost) on a cliff, in a tree, something like this, normally, but under that bridge is pretty much a direct path from bird to lake.”
Vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area will be unaffected while crews install the netting.
“For the people who paddle, or boat, on the lake, I would just urge you to be very cautious when you’re going through there, because one side is going to be closed and then they’ll flip to the other side and then the other side will close, so for the duration of construction, one of the lanes under the bridge is closed to boating,” said Austin.
It’s hoped less pigeons and what they leave behind will lead to fewer beach closures in the summer.