Rat problem eliciting a City response… And they may go political!
By David F. Rooney
Are you currently living with a rat problem or do you fear having a rat problem?
If you can answer ‘Yes’ to either of those questions then you’ll be pleased to know that the City, in conjunction with Interior Health, is actively setting up a meeting next month to address people’s fears.
“We’re going to wait until after the election (which is May 9),” Mayor Mark McKee told The Current.
Maybe so, but the rat issue may gnaw its way into the provincial election campaign anyway — at least here in Revelstoke. This Thursday’s, April 20, All-Candidate’s Forum at the Community Centre starting at 7 pm may well see rats emerge as a verminous local issue in the election. So please either come out to attend the meeting and see what the candidates have to say about it or watch their response on video when it is posted on The Current sometime late Friday afternoon.
For months Revelstokians have been complaining about what is apparently a rat population explosion. Rats have lived in parts of Revelstoke for decades. (I wrote my first story about rats 14 or 15 years ago when everyone I spoke with said they were only found in the Big Eddy.) Then late last autumn, people in Lower Town and Columbia Park starterd complaining that rats had infested their homes. Not long afterwards, homeowners and renters in Upper Town and then Southside began noticing them, too. There was a run on rattraps and rat poisons; orders for them at Home Hardware took a while to fill.
While most people were attempting to commit raticide, Colleen Morrison began doing her homework to find out what people needed to know about the vermin. She produced a document on rat-control methods and another the health risks posed by rats.
She also wrote to Environment Minister Mary Polak.
“Alberta adopted a rat control policy in 1950 and Saskatchewan followed in 1963.,” she said in her e-mail to the minister.
“There is so much that could be done with very little funding. We are asked to compost in British Columbia but most people don’t realize that we are feeding the problem with open composting. There is no such thing at this time as a rat-proof composter, just a rat-resistant (one).
“It is unlawful for private citizens to keep rats in Alberta. The white rat or laboratory rat is a domesticated Norway rat. Rats are sold in pet stores here in British Columbia. They are released into the environment by unaware people where they can mate with the (wild) tNorway rat.
“I would like to see some data collecting done along with better education for the public.
With a provincial election in May, my vote will depend on the party that starts to take this matter more seriously.”
“The reply was that a program like that in Alberta would not be effective and (would be) cost prohibitive,” she said, adding that she also contacted Phil Merrill of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.
“His view point is very different. He said ‘Rats can’t live in the mountains unless they have a building or dump to live in with a supply of food. Controlling rats in mountain towns shouldn’t be too difficult.’”
This Thursday’s, April 20, All-Candidate’s Forum at the Community Centre starting at 7 pm may well see the emergence of rats as local issue in the BC provincial election. So please either come out to attend the meeting and see what the candidates have to say about it or watch their response on video when it is posted on The Current sometime late Friday afternoon.