Tuesday‘s Creston town council meeting opened with a presentation from Dallas Magrum of the Creston Rat Patrol.
Magrum introduced the grassroots group to the council with an invitation to the Creston Rat Patrol Facebook group.
“Our mandate is education and eradication,” said Magrum. “I invite all of you to check out the (Facebook) page.”
Magrum went onto give the council a Change.org petition that included signatures from 438 Creston residents calling for action from the Town of Creston and the Regional District of Central Kootenay in 1) implementing an eradication program before it is too late, 2) developing a vector (carrier organism) bylaw, 3) creating a dumping program to support constituents cleaning yard and agricultural waste, and 4) putting in place a roadside safe trash/bin and compost program to start.
“We propose that the Town of Creston and the Creston Valley become forward-thinking with this issue and partner with the Creston Rat Patrol to lobby RDCK to initiate a new service request,” said Magrum. “This must include a vector (carrier organism) bylaw such as the existing ones in the cities of Port Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. We ask that you carefully review the request on the Change.org petition. It clearly shows our citizens attitudes on where we go from here.”
Magrum invited council members to visit the interactive map that is tracking rat kills, unknown cases of dead rats found, rat sightings and suspected rat colonies in the Town of Creston.
Magrum ended the presentation by asking the council to connect with other municipal members at the 2019 Union of B.C. Municipalities convention held in Vancouver from Sept. 23-27 to discuss how other municipalities are dealing with rats and rodents.
“We are not alone with this problem. Find the mayor of Salmon Arm. He’s looking to talk about rats over coffee with other municipalities,” said Magrum. “There is a valid concern that if we do not act now, we will have exploding populations over the winter and by the time spring arrives, we will have areas colonize so completely, that eradication will be extremely costly, both financial and materially.”
When asked if the Town of Creston recognizes the growing rat population, Mayor Ron Toyota replied, “There are rats in Creston. Yes, there are rats all over, and it’s not a Creston problem; it’s a provincial problem.”
“Whether you’re going to stand up and say, ‘Creston, is the rat capital of British Columbia’, no,” said Coun. Jim Elford. “And I don’t think council would recognize that. Creston has rats the same as many other municipalities. The question is, how are we going to deal with it and at what cost?”
The Town of Creston has had no response to rodent traps that have been placed in various municipal locations in Creston and has only received three official written complaints concerning rats.
Council will review the delegation presented by the Creston Rat Patrol in a future committee of the whole meeting.
In other town council news:
• Council approved a proclamation for Rail Safety Week Sept. 23-29, 2019.
• Council approved a proclamation for UN International Day of Older Persons Oct. 1, 2019.
• Brenda Brucker, Sharon Svanda and Alison Szpak of the Creston Valley Arts Council reported on the success the Creston Vally Arts Council has had over the last year with events and the gift store.
“Artists are really proud and happy,” said Brucker. “We sold (art) pieces up to $1,200. Artists are feeling really good about supporting the arts council.”
Svandra and Szpak continued the presentation with event description and an invitation to the Phantom of the gallery art auction on Sept. 28 happening at the Tilted Brick Gallery located on the second floor of Casey’s Community House.