Kanata North votes to rid ward of nuisance mosquitoes

More than 70 per cent of Kanata North households voted in favour of paying for a special mosquito program in a ward-wide referendum.

Households to pay, on average, $19 a year to kill off mosquito larvae

Hamilton expert sheds light on the Zika virus and warns travellers to protect themselves, especially pregnant women. (turkletom/Flickr cc)

Results are in from a special referendum of Kanata North households, and the vast majority of those who voted are willing to pay a special levy on their tax bill if it means getting rid of mosquitoes.

The ward's councillor said she was surprised by the strength of the vote — 72 per cent of the more than 2,500 households that cast ballots by Feb. 17 supported paying to have a company kill off larvae for the next four years.

"I had no idea how it was going to turn out. I hear from people who really want it. I hear from people who really don't want to have another penny on their tax dollars," Marianne Wilkinson said.

"They're coming from all over the ward asking for it," she added, "It's not just one area."

However, only 18.5 per cent of the 13,681 households in Kanata North cast ballots.

'Creating new wetlands'

Wilkinson said the numbers of mosquitoes in the last few years had been "driving some residents crazy" to the point where they couldn't bear to use their yards.

Coun. Marianne Wilkinson says she was surprised with the strength of the vote in favour of ridding her ward of mosquitoes. (Hallie Cotnam/CBC)

The councillor said Kanata North is surrounded by places where mosquitoes can breed as a significant wetland runs through her ward, the National Capital Commission green belt is on one side and the Carp River with its floodplain is on another.

"I think we're creating new wetlands," she added, describing ways the city needs to hold back water so it can drain gradually without flooding. "As we do community development, we add more storm water ponds, and the Carp River, creating wet meadows as part of the floodplain area."

The city was set to award the four-year $1.5 million mosquito program contract to GDG Environment, as long as residents voted in favour of the mosquito program.

University of Ottawa students will also conduct a research project at the same time to study the effects of the larvae-killing product, which Wilkinson says is natural, on the food webs of the wetland and plants pollinated by mosquitoes.

The vote still needs to be approved at city council on Feb. 24.