City of Kimberley defends its rodent control practices

Keeping soccer fields safe for players is paramount, City press release says

Some Kimberley residents have been upset in recent days with the method the City has chosen to deal with gophers on local soccer fields. Residents say they were not properly notified that poison was to be used on gophers at the Purcell Park soccer fields. There was concern about children or dogs possible getting into the poison, and also some concern that the poison was not used properly. There were also people who felt it was inhumane to poison the gophers.

City CAO Scott Sommerville said last Friday that signage was placed around the entrances to the fields and removed once th application of the poison was complete.

“The poison (Rozol) is used in many communities in the East Kootenays, and is placed in the gopher hole before the hole is filled in,” he said. “The lethal traps we were using in previous years had proven ineffective.”

With people still concerned about it on Monday, the Cty put out the following press release.

In response to public complaints about the use of rodent control at Purcellsoccer fields, the City of Kimberley is providing the following information on its current pest management practices.

The importance of keeping the playfields safe is paramount with the increasing popularity of soccer among Kimberley youth, the Kimberley Academy expanding into soccer, the JulyFest Classic soccertournament hosting over 60 teams for its 45th year, and the BC 55+ Games coming next fall. The playfields are uneven mostly due to the burrowing of Richardson Ground Squirrels (commonly called gophers) under the playing surface. 25% of all injuries in soccer are due to poor field conditions (Koutures, 2010).

The City found that lethal trapping was ineffective at controlling the increasing gopher population, and that often the gophers were suffering in the traps. City staff decided to try another method of pest control at Purcell Field and at both cemeteries.

A licensed contractor was hired to apply Rozol to the underground burrows of the gophers. This substance is used to safely control the rodent populations throughout our region on public school fields, colleges, golf courses, cemeteries and municipal fields. When the product was applied on April 19th, signage was placed for seven days at all entrances to the Purcell fields. City staff have been monitoring the fields to remove carcasses to prevent scavenging and to bury the burrow entrances to remove bait kicked top the surface by the gophers. A pet would have to eat the equivalent of its own body weight in bait to be seriously affected.

The City has confirmed with a BC Conservation Officer that the product was applied properly. The City is willing to consult with volunteers regarding alternatives and the permitting required. The City asks that residents not disturb the burrows or the substance within them.

Kimberley Daily Bulletin

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