Pixabay photo.

Pixabay photo.

Township ramps up rat control

New policy in response to complaints from Aldergrove residents about increasing rat populations

In light of increasing rat issues in Aldergrove, the Township is introducing a rodent abatement and control policy.

Under this new policy — which was unanimously endorsed by council on June 26 — demolition permits will no longer be issued until a declaration form is submitted from a qualified and licenced pest control company. This will ensure that the property and all buildings have been inspected for pest infestation, and that if any are found, they are removed prior to the building coming down.

The policy is similar to what is required in neighbouring municipalities of Coquitlam, Maple Ridge and Delta.

Coun. Petrina Arnason said it is a “good step forward,” but believes the policy is limited as it does not address the clearing of lots, which according to some Aldergrove residents, has led to major rat problems in the Bertrand Creek area.

“I think we, unlike some other jurisdictions, would have more areas that were actually forested as opposed to some where they’re just redoing areas through redevelopment,” Arnason said. “My only personal experience is having had this as an effect where a store that I used to work in was virtually invaded by some rodents, unfortunately, due to land clearing next door. And so, I always like to put the onus on the user, and so that would be the individuals doing the work, to make sure the outcome is not really downloaded onto the next door neighbours and other residents there.”

Ramin Seifi, Township engineering and community development manager, said there were three factors involved in their decision to target the policy to demolition permits: the Township’s current practice has been to include a copy of the HealthlinkBC bulletin on pest control with demolition permits, therefore putting the onus on demolition contractors; it is in line with what other municipalities do; and the prevalence of rodents is mostly due to the demolition of buildings.

Mayor Jack Froese added that with land clearing, the rodents are considered wildlife and fall under a different jurisdiction.

There is also no permitting process for that kind of activity, whereas with demolitions there is, Seifi said.

Councillor Bob Long asked that information brochures be made available for residents when land is being cleared for development.

“I think it should be mentioned somewhere, even though we may not have the power to put it into a bylaw,” Long said. “But when there’s land being cleared for development, that’s really the complaint that came to us.

“It’s good that we’ve got this policy on the table now for homes when they get demolished, but I think (land clearing is) more the concern.”