PEI

Summerside residents living near former trade school site decry influx of pigeons, pests

People living near the site of the former trade school in Summerside say they're being inundated with pests — and they believe it's because birds and rodents that were displaced when the building was demolished.

Reports of rodents and ‘dozens’ of pigeons since building was demolished

Pigeons build a nest on the second storey of a townhouse in Summerside. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

People living near the site of the former trade school in Summerside say they're being inundated with pests — and they believe it's because birds and rodents that were displaced when the building was demolished.

The former trade school was levelled this summer after sitting empty for more than a decade. The site is set to be developed into a health centre, new firehall and housing.

"We're seeing an increase in pigeons to the point where we can't open our second-floor windows," said Travis Milligan, a resident of the townhouses across the street from the old trade school.

"They're making a mess and they're there all day and evening," he said.

Elaine Murray, who has lived in the area for 11 years, agrees that there's been a surge in pigeons in the neighbourhood.

"They're here every morning by the dozens," she said.

And it's not just pigeons. Milligan and Murray report seeing an uptick in rodents and crows since the old building was taken down. 

"I already have taken precautions for the mice situation," Murray said, who added that she's purchased mouse sensors for her home to see if the animals have made it inside.

"I'm not bothered by it right now, but we'll see what happens come fall," she said.

Summerside resident Travis Milligan is calling on elected officials to deal with the pigeon problem in his neighbourhood. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

Calling for action

Milligan said he has called his elected officials to raise his concerns about the pests, but so far, no one has taken any action to mitigate the problem.

"I'm disheartened at the fact that there was no plan to begin with," said Milligan.

P.E.I. 's Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action confirmed on Friday that it received one complaint from an area resident who was "not happy" about the increase in pests.

In a statement, it said that department staff spoke with the person to make specific suggestions to try to assist them.

Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart says he is willing to work with residents who are upset with the volume of pigeons and other pests in their neighbourhood. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

The mayor of Summerside, Basil Stewart, said he's aware of the problem. He said he toured the site recently, and said he didn't see an unusual number of animals.

He said he's sympathetic to the problem.

"I mean, the building had to come down," he said. "We will do whatever we can, but we have to take it one step at a time."

This week, the City hired a pest control company to work with the major landlord in the area, Hillcrest Housing, to deal with the problem. 

Tim Banks, CEO of the APM Group — the developer involved with the project — said animals can be displaced during demolition projects, but in his experience, they settle somewhere safe and away from people in a matter of weeks.

He said he believes people in the neighbourhood will be very pleased with the construction project once it's finished.

"It's short-term pain for long-term betterment," said Banks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate McKenna is a journalist with CBC News based in Montreal. kate.mckenna@cbc.ca.

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