Ottawa

City chews over rat strategy as complaints multiply

Complaints about rats in Ottawa are on the rise, and city councillors will discuss later this month what they're going to do about it.

Vermin calls to 311 on the rise, according to city report

Rat complaints to 311 are on the rise, according to city data. (iStock)

Complaints about rats in Ottawa are on the rise, and city councillors will discuss later this month what they're going to do about it.

According to 311 data, there were 351 complaints about the rodents in 2015 and 579 last year. In the first seven months of 2019, there have already been 442.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury asked for the latest figures, and wants to know how the city is planning to respond.

"City staff have been putting efforts into updating and creating useful educational materials to inform residents on how to prevent surface rats on their property," according to a report prepared in response to his inquiry.

As part of that campaign, residents are being reminded to properly dispose of food waste.

"Rats need food to live and will find that food in unkept properties where garbage is not stored appropriately," the report reads.

The city is checking in with other municipalities to see how they're keeping vermin in check. In Halifax, properties that are scheduled for demolition must have rat traps set out first, and in Windsor, Ont., the city hires exterminators to target private property where rats are believed to be nesting. 

If councillors decide to get tougher on the pests, staff will prepare a business case in time for the upcoming budget.

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