Fire hall demolition causes rat problem for Champlain Heights resident


Reported by Cheryl Whiting

Some residents in Champlain Heights are wondering why the City of Vancouver is doing nothing about a rat problem they say has been caused by the demolition of a nearby building.

Sandie Brown, a resident and board member of Killarney Gardens Housing Co-Operative, said that rat sightings went up drastically after Fire Hall No. 5 was demolished in July.

A dead rat that made its way onto Sandie Brown’s lawn, a problem that Brown claims the city is not dealing with. Submitted photo

“I was looking outside my patio door and there were four young rats frolicking on my patio deck,”
 Brown said. “I was livid.”

City and exterminator didn’t help in resolving rat problem

After a few rat sightings and the desecration of her vegetable garden, Brown said she called city hall, and they sent a technician out. Instead of fixing the problem, Brown said the technician blamed her for having the vegetable garden and said that it was the cause of the rat problem.

“He didn’t put down bait traps or anything. His attitude was like, ‘you have no proof, it’s up to you to deal with them,’” she said.

Brown said that she has had to have exterminators come to her property, and will be having landscapers come this week and if they find anything, she will need to have the exterminator back again.

Other municipalities have current rodent policies

Coquitlam enacted a policy after receiving numerous complaints about rats from neighbours adjacent to demolition sites.

Sandie Brown on her property where she had a frustrating rat problem due to the nearby fire hall demolition. Photo: Cheryl Whiting.
Sandie Brown on her property where she had a frustrating rat problem due to the nearby fire hall demolition. Photo: Cheryl Whiting.

Jim Bontempo, manager of building permits and approvals for Coquitlam, confirmed that rat sightings were due to increased demolition in the city, and that all property owners are now required to submit an inspection report from a pest control company before qualifying for a demolition permit.

“The program is fairly successful, in that we have not really been getting a lot of complaints from adjacent neighbours since,” he said.

While Vancouver does not have the same law as that of Coquitlam, city spokesman Tobin Postma said that solutions are being discussed.

“Staff are currently reviewing the permit requirements and looking at how a similar sort of rodent policy could be incorporated,” he said over email.

Brown said she feels frustrated with the lack of action from the city.

“I know that all large urban areas have problems with rodents but I don’t feel it should be to the extent that it is now,” she said. ‘[The city has] just dragged their heels.”

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