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Montreal's rat problem: Opposition party proposes plan to deal with rodents

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Montreal's opposition party wants the city to develop a plan to control the rat population that the party calls "uncontrollable."

Ensemble Montreal's motion calls on public works to have a rat control procedure in place when working in open sewers, while asking for a review of the domestic and commercial waste management system.

In addition, the party wants open public garbage cans progressively replaced and an awareness campaign launched targeting food vendors to enforce sanitary measures.

"Our plan will not only better control the presence of rats in Montreal, but will also address the important cleanliness issues that persist in our city," said opposition environment critic Stephanie Valenzuela. "To quote the Mayor of New York, 'our city deserves better than rats, graffiti and dirt.'"

Montreal banned the use of rodenticides in 2022, but backtracked on the plan in January as the number of rats in the city exploded.

Montreal now allows exterminators to use diphacinone, which until this week was banned alongside glyphosate, a controversial herbicide, Bromethaline, a neurotoxin with no known antidote, and about 30 other fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and rodenticides.

"We... want to make sure that pest management companies have what they need in their toolbox, so we are being flexible. This is why the use of a rodenticide has been allowed again," said a spokesperson for the Plante administration.

"A strategy is currently in place that involves the use of various means, including mechanical means, the installation of closed bins, the application of standards surrounding construction sites and efforts to keep the public domain clean, among others. 

Ensemble Montreal says the rodents' populations have exploded during the pandemic.

"With our cleanliness issues, Montreal has become an all-you-can-eat buffet for rats, who take advantage of our many construction sites to escape," said leader Aref Salem. "Gone are the days when they were only found in sewers; rats now frequent our homes, universities, parks, businesses and offices. This is not a cohabitation we desire."

The Ensemble Montreal release says the city is home to between five and six million rats and that requests for exterminations quadrupled in 2022.

"The issue of rats in Montreal is taken very seriously and we are aware that it is a source of concern for many," the city stated. "It is important to note that each borough makes significant efforts to control the rat population according to the specificities of its territory."

The Plante administration claimed that since 2020, there has been a decrease in complaints about the presence of rodents in the downtown area, adding "we are not letting our guard down." 

The opposition party wants a prevention plan put in place alongside the recent reverse course on using rodenticides. 

The city said it received the opposition's motion with "great openness" and will discuss it the next municipal council.

 

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