Eganville – It looks like there are rats in the village and Bonnechere Valley Mayor Jennifer Murphy is wondering if the township should pick up some rat traps for residents.
“I was just wondering if we could order some traps,” she said to Works Superintendent Jason Zohr during the August committee meeting of council. “And if people want them for their backyards or what have you, then we could hand them out and get them back. I was not sure how that would work.”
“You would almost have to get live traps, wouldn’t you?” asked Councillor Merv Buckwald.
However, Councillor Brent Patrick said if it is on private property it should be the houseowner’s responsibility. He said that is what he has done as a property owner.
“I had some on the other side of the river and seven on an outside property,” he said.
Mr. Zohr questioned what would happen if live traps are set up and other animals, including domestic cats, get caught.
“Is it a problem here? Rats?,” questioned Councillor Tracey Sanderson.
“Every few years it is a problem, you know with restaurants obviously, garbage, but also we have the garbage place in town, although they have seemed to have cleaned up a bit,” the mayor said. (She was referring to Canadian Waste Management which is located in the former Jack’s Garage on Queen Street and where several garbage trucks are parked.)
She questioned if collecting garbage from the restaurants twice a week in hot weather might work.
“I am just thinking of mitigation strategies,” she said.
Mr. Zohr said garbage attendants have other duties so having extra pickup would not work easily.
“I know for sure one restaurant was taking extra garbage during the week (to the transfer site),” he said.
Mayor Murphy said it is important for the public to know council is aware of the issue and is trying to deal with the problem.
“It was a really big problem for a few days; it seems to have settled down but I don’t know that for sure,” she said.
Coun. Patrick said dealing with yard standards is important too. He said there are properties in the village which could cut long grass as well.
“These rats are not being produced because of long grass,” the mayor said. “They are creeping around the village into people’s yards. We need to have some sort of plan going forward.”
Perhaps the township could encourage the grocery store and restaurants to use the transfer stations during the week, she said.
“We are never going to eradicate it,” she said.
Coun. Patrick said other communities have eradicated their rat problem.
“Alberta is one of the few places in the world there are no rats,” he said.
“I tell everyone to look at other successful areas and they have zero tolerance,” he said.
Councillor John Epps said he is totally opposed to providing or using live traps in relation to any vermin.
“Killing traps perhaps,” he said.
Perhaps they could give a second dumping period for restaurants, he mused.
“If rats are a real problem perhaps we could consider using a bounty for them. That is what Alberta did and that is why they have no rats,” he said. “We would not have to pay cash to the rat tails but we could have some incentive.”
The tails could be dropped off at the work superintendent’s office, he joked.
Mayor Murphy said she is not a fan of “killing any of God’s creatures” and that is why she thought of live traps, but wanted the issue dealt with.
Council agreed to leave the issue with Mr. Zohr and CAO Annette Gilchrist to look at options and bring back recommendations.