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Two Toronto councillors propose action plan to tackle increasing rat infestations


Two Toronto city councillors are asking staff to develop a rats reduction strategy by the latter half of next year to deal with infestations, but some say the problem needs immediate action.

“We see them running around. It’s disgusting,” said Liza Lukashevsky, owner of The Nut House near Bloor St. W and Lansdowne Ave.

She said while the problem has been ongoing for eight to ten years, it’s become worse because of increased construction in the area and the number of people littering food on the sidewalk.

“You see them late at night crossing the street, running around on the sidewalks, burying into the sides of stores trying to get in, and a lot of residents, especially near the construction sites, are getting rats that are literally jumping around frolicking in their yards.”

Davenport Coun. Alejandra Bravo told CTV News Toronto that she is getting more calls about rodents, but the issue is really a city-wide problem.

Along with Etobicoke-Lakeshore City Councillor Amber Morley, the pair is proposing that the city develop the plan.

Bravo said that as more housing is built and warmer winters are on the horizon due to climate change, the city will see even more rats, and there are several ways to tackle the issue.

“One of them can be construction management, so you’re going to have to have a plan for the rats that are released into the world,” she said. “It’s really about getting ahead of the situation.”

Bravo added that it’s also a priority to update animal services responses to dead rats, food and waste storage and disposal practices, and dealing with aging infrastructure because it can create breeding grounds.

Lukashevsky is managing by having exterminators and keeping everything super clean. She said a city plan is good, but action is needed as soon as possible.

“We really don’t need a year of people being consulted because it’s pretty easy how you deal with the situation, people have been dealing with rats for thousands of years.”

Orkin Canada said it receives more calls when developments begin, and there is a prevention piece to solving the problem because traps can go in before digging, but it agrees the strategy must go beyond construction.

“What’s happening with homeless camps, what’s happening with protest camps, what’s happening with residents who leave garbage bags two to three days out prior to pick up? What about businesses with overflowing garbage dumpsters?” technical director Sean Rollo said.

Without a city plan, the business improvement areas (BIAs) in Bloorcourt and Bloordale are also trying to get ahead of the rats. Inspired by a program on Queen West, they installed around 100 rat traps.

“Anecdotally {getting} a lot of thank yous,” said Meg Marshall, who speaks for the two BIAs.

“It’s really a program that a lot of small businesses do appreciate it, and it just adds value to creating safe public streets for people to come and enjoy.”

Bravo said big cities like New York and Washington have plans, and Ottawa and Peel Region also have program and it’s important Toronto have a plan too. Top Stories


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