Should the B.C. government pay to rid the province of rats?

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Should the B.C. government pay to rid the province of rats?
WATCH: Okanagan rat issue to be brought up with provincial politicians – Feb 16, 2017

From Osoyoos to Kelowna, rats have overrun much of the Okanagan.

“We get about 20 rat calls a week,” BugMasters Pest Control exterminator Steve Ball said. “We wouldn’t get 20 rat calls in a year five years ago.”

The City of West Kelowna is one of the hardest hit regions. Mayor Doug Findlater openly admits, “we know this is a common complaint.”

READ MORE: West Kelowna becomes ground zero for rats

Now the City is looking for a province-wide solution, to help control B.C.’s budding rat population. It’s pitching the provincial government should start a B.C.-wide rat strategy.

Right now the onus is on home and business owners to get rid of the pests on their property, but West Kelowna city council is putting forward a motion for the Union of BC Municipalities to lobby the Ministry of Environment for help.

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“It cries out for a larger strategy rather than doing it one house, one municipality at a time because it is a provincial problem,” Findlater said.

Frustrated Kelowna resident Lori DeBoice said numerous rats have been running up and down the back alley behind her home for two years and nothing has been done.

“You can’t ignore something like this,” DeBoice said. “They breed so quickly.”

Ball said his company reached out to municipalities three years ago about the growing problem, but nothing was done.

“If we had done something collectively about this years ago, the problem would be far smaller than it is,” Ball said.

But Findlater said its just too much for one municipality to tackle.

“We’re not going to take on an expensive program ourselves that likely won’t have any significant results, it’s that simple,” he said. “We think it needs to be done on a broader basis than simply one municipality at a time.”

The idea still has to be approved by the Union of BC Municipalities before it is pitched to the province.

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