Visible on the front door of a Cossar Avenue home in Penticton is a “no occupancy order” sign.
That’s because a severe rat infestation is plaguing the abandoned home and now the city is taking action.
“It was quite concerning and we obviously don’t want it to kind of infiltrate into neighbouring properties,” said Penticton Bylaw Supervisor Tina Siebert.
Siebert called the circumstances unfortunate.
She said the elderly homeowner, who recently lost her husband, has been placed in a care home for dementia.
The residence has been sitting empty since February and there is no family to assist with cleaning.
A staff report to city council said a Pentiction Regional Hospital social worker involved in moving the elderly woman to a long-term care facility reported the squalid conditions to the city.
The report notes the social worker was “extremely concerned” about a rat infestation at the property.
One neighbour who spoke to Global News said she was shocked to learn of the situation.
“I’m so terribly sorry this has happened. I hope that she is getting the care that she needs,” said Britani Johnson.
Today the City of Penticton declared the home a “nuisance property” requiring remedial action to clear garbage and exterminate the rats at a cost of approximately $2,500
“We are the eyes and ears in the community to make sure we are providing as best a service as we can and that neighbours look out for each other and report things that kind of seem a little bit off or that seem unsafe or unhealthy,” Siebert said.
The city contacted exterminator Reid Kelley to complete an inspection.
He said rat colonies are exploding across the region.
“The roof rats have definitely taken over the Okanagan. They’ve been here about 11 years and since then they’ve just set up shop.”
Both the city and pest control company said it’s a good reminder to keep attractants like garbage out of sight to avoid the unwanted invaders.