As beautiful as the Canada Geese are – it’s what they leave behind at Barrie’s waterfront that’s turning some residents and visitors off.

“It’s pretty gross. We like to walk down here buy you don’t want to come down to the waterfront because there’s goose poo everywhere,” says Sean Barbour

The City of Barrie agrees.

“It has become quite a bit of a problem,” says Rick Reeves with the City of Barrie.

There are more geese than ever down at the waterfront and there’s a good reason why.

“A lot of people come down and feed the geese at the waterfront and that’s just increased the population,” adds Reeves.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says washing with soap and water after a day at the beach is always recommended because ingesting goose droppings from the sand or water can lead to serious health complications.

“They usually result in some sort of diarrhea type illness. It’s usually self-limiting, you’ll probably get over it but you might need medical attention,” says Ryan MacDougall with the health unit.

And family pets can get sick from it too.

“I worry about the goose poo here all the time because my dog always tries to eat it and it is sickening because it’s poo,” says pet owner Kevin Treadwell.

Pets could be ingesting parasites in the bacteria and more.

“The other concern is the gastro bug – the upset tummy from eating something they shouldn’t which can lead to pancreatitis and that can be life threatening,” says veterinarian Dr. Trish O’Sullivan.

The city uses a turf rake twice a week on the grass trying to clean up the goose poop and they also use a spray.

“We tried a product called ‘Beakers Cappote’ made from fish and the geese don’t like it but it is short lived,” says Reeves.

The city had some success from a number of coyote decoys but people steal them – they have lost four so far. Reeves says the best solution is to allow dogs back onto the waterfront.

“Right now it’s against the bylaw but geese don’t like dogs. People generally pick up after their dogs but nobody picks up after these geese.”