West Kelowna is looking for help with their least welcome resident.
“In recent years, the province of B.C. has seen an increase in the population and distribution of rats for which no provincial strategy exists,” reads a resolution West Kelowna council wants forwarded for consideration by delegates attending the Southern Interior Local Government Association Annual General Meeting.
The rat infestations, council said, lead to damage to buildings, electrical wiring and stored food supplies and rats carry diseases that could be transmitted to humans.
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Given the affect on community health and safety, council would like the Ministry of Environment to develop and fund a strategy to reduce and/or control the rat population in B.C.
The wording of the resolution is vague, councillors pointed out during a Feb. 14 meeting, because it’s unclear where the province stands on the issue.
Rats are also a fairly new pest in the valley, as Coun. Rusty Ensign pointed out.
“We never had rats in the valley in my entire life and we now see more and more emails (complaining about rats),” Ensign said. “We can’t deal with it as a city, it’s pointless. If it’s not dealt with regionally we’re not going to get rid of them.”
The onus to keep rats out of private property will still likely rest on homeowners, which Mayor Doug Findlater has had some experience with.
“I had them in my shed … and a problem under my hot-tub, where they liked the heat and I went trapping,” he said. “And successfully resolved it — I hope.”