Plans are in the works to evict a nesting colony of sea gulls from the roof of the Gibsons and District Public Library.
The birds flocked to the library’s sunken flat roof after a nearby building they formerly called home was reroofed, chief building inspector Peter Longhi reported to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) corporate and administrative services committee on Sept. 26.
With its overhanging roof providing an attractive refuge from the elements, Longhi said, the library became an ideal spot for the gulls to start a nesting colony.
“As of late, there have been no less than 100 birds and 60 nests with eggs hatching in the month of August and young taking flight in late August and September,” he said.
In his report, Longhi noted the gulls are “extremely territorial when nesting and very aggressive to those wanting to have them displaced.” The odour from decaying food and feces, he added, “has given the library great concern over air quality, as the intake/makeup air for air-conditioning is also on the roof.”
Longhi recommended the SCRD hire a pest control firm to clean up the site and install about 150 bird scarers, “a series of stainless steel mechanical deterrents that move with the wind” and are shaped like daddy-long-legs.
“The birds hate them and eventually move on,” Longhi told the committee.
The devices will be visible only from taller buildings due to the library’s sunken roof, he said.
The estimated cost of the mitigation work is $15,000.
Elphinstone director Lorne Lewis, who sits on the Gibsons and area library board, answered concerns that the measures would simply move the problem to another building in the area.
“The library board feels that the sea gulls are not welcome there, because of the stench and health issues,” Lewis said. “I appreciate it will be moving them to somewhere else. My apologies to whoever gets them.”
The committee recommended funding the work from reserves.
Longhi reported that gulls are a federally protected species, and enough time has to pass to allow the young to leave the nest, “providing a window of opportunity to install mitigation devices.”
The fine for killing a gull is $100 per bird or egg, he said.
Other bird deterrents that were considered but ultimately ruled out were ultra-sonic noise generators, artificial owls, bird panic noise simulators, nets and flying drone predators that require an operator to work the controls.
The Town of Gibsons has been dealing with gull nesting problems affecting private buildings in the Landing area, and Vancouver Coastal Health has also gotten involved due to public health issues, treasurer Tina Perreault told the committee.
“It seems it’s a Lower Gibsons issue this year,” she said.