Backyard composting bins in a parking lot under the north end of the Burrard Bridge have created a serious rat problem for a nearby daycare.

YMCA spokesperson Kelly Walker says the bins attracted a horde of rodents, which soon began appearing in the Beach daycare playground, forcing them to keep the children indoors.

"Rats are not something that are a particularly clean rodent, so we obviously want them nowhere near or in and around our facilities," said Walker.

Beach YMCA daycare

Children at the YMCA's Beach Child Care facility won't be able to play outside until the city deals with a nearby rat infestation. (Google Maps)

The City of Vancouver says the problem began with a nearby community garden.

Compost that was being used to help feed the plants ended up providing food for rats as well.

City of Vancouver Director of Waste Management Albert Shamess says the real problem began when a load of uncovered compost, the city believes contained food scraps, was dumped nearby.

"The combination of those two attracted some rats. There was a food source there, a nice pile of compost to pick and nest in and that's what happened," he said.

The city is working to get rid of the rats. But Walker says, until that happens, the kids can't play outside.

"Until we have a high level of confidence that there are no rats in the area anymore, we won't be allowing the children to enter the playground."

The bins have now been removed and the city has scooped up the pile of loose compost and trucked most, but not all of it away. 

But the rats remain.

Exterminators have now been called in.

Shamess says leaving food scraps in open compost was probably an innocent mistake and the city won't be seeking penalties. 

He says all the rats should be gone by the weekend.

Google Maps: Beach YMCA Daycare, 1475 Burrard St.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the composting bins attracting the rats belonged to the City of Vancouver. In fact, the bins were from a nearby community garden.
    Jun 18, 2014 5:24 PM PT