Kanata North residents will be paying an average of about $20 a year for a company to kill off mosquito larvae over the next four years after the plan got final approval by Ottawa city council on Wednesday.
The city will now spend $1.5 million on a contract to GDG Environment to kill mosquito larvae by feeding them pellets after people living in the ward complained about swarms of mosquitoes bothering them as soon as they went outside.
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"[Summer] won't be mosquito-free, the proposal we have guarantees a reduction of about 80 per cent which is what they've done elsewhere," said Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson.
'It's not going to be clouds of mosquitoes anymore, which is what we have now.' - Marianne Wilkinson.
"There will still be some left and that ensures that any birds or bats that feed on them will still have some left… It's not going to be clouds of mosquitoes anymore, which is what we have now."
University of Ottawa students will also be going into the wetland to study the effects of the larvae-killing product, she said.
Other cities across Canada, including Gatineau, run similar mosquito control programs.
Councillors voted 20-1 in favour of the plan, with Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt being the only one to oppose the motion.
A special referendum was held Feb. 17, with 72 per cent of the households that answered voting in favour of the plan.
Voter turnout was 18.5 per cent.
"We have a process for certain things like local improvements where there's a requirement to obtain 66 per cent of the residents [being] in favour of an item. That's 66 per cent of all residents, not just 66 per cent of all respondents," Moffatt said.
"In this case 11,000 letters were sent out, only 3,000 came back in so the percentage of the overall total of people in favour was less than 20 per cent… I have an issue with that."
"I would think the majority of [constituents] are open to it," Wilkinson said.
"Nobody likes to pay more taxes, if I say 'Would you like to pay more taxes?' the answer would obviously be no. Would you be willing to pay more taxes in order to get a service is what this is and the answer has been yes from quite a few. Some said no and some are very angry they're going to pay more taxes."
Kanata North resident Todd Foggoa said he doesn't like the precedent this sets.
"If there was a ward downtown that couldn't afford or didn't want an extra service, I think that's a big issue [to live] in a city with different wards having different levels of service," he said after the vote.