Soroba res­i­dents’ rat sur­prise

The Oban Times - - Front Page - DAVID MCPHEE dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

A SOROBA cou­ple were sur­prised last week af­ter their dog cap­tured a rat out­side their close in Colon­say Ter­race.

How­ever, this was not the only shock Sheila and Andy Brown re­ceived.

Upon go­ing on to Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s web­site, Mrs Brown dis­cov­ered that it would cost them £76.35 to call out a pest con­trol of­fi­cer.

She la­belled this charge ‘ridicu­lous’ and said: ‘If I did not have dogs, I would want them to check out my house and I imag­ine ev­ery­one else [in the block of flats] would too. That would be more than £600. It is lu­di­crous.

‘If they had not mucked up things with the bins and cre­ated this rat par­adise there would not be rats there. There never was be­fore and there have been bins there for years.

‘I hope the coun­cil­lors do what they said to me they would do and get some­thing done about it quickly be­cause it is a health haz­ard.’

The cou­ple share two large gen­eral waste bins and one re­cy­cling bin with seven other house­holds.

The gen­eral, grey, bins are emp­tied ev­ery three weeks fol­low­ing the changes to the refuse col­lec­tions in Novem­ber last year.

Mrs Brown and her hus­band have two dogs and it was their Stafford­shire bull ter­rier who was quick enough to catch the ro­dent.

Sheila added: ‘[ Mr Brown] just let the dogs out for a pee and the younger dog’s nose went up and she shot off and growled.

‘She nor­mally leaves some- thing alone if you shout her, but she wouldn’t and she came back with a rat in her mouth.’

The cou­ple’s neigh­bour has also had an en­counter with a rat.

‘The girl up­stairs has three chil­dren un­der five,’ Mrs Brown added. ‘She said she could hear some­thing in her cup­board and my neigh­bour, who has a small ter­rier dog, went to look and they found a rat.

‘It is un­likely I will get a rat in the house be­cause I have the dogs, but my neigh­bour up­stairs is ter­ri­fied.

‘It is only go­ing to get worse be­cause it is go­ing to get warmer. The smell is go­ing to travel fur­ther and it is go­ing to at­tract more rats and they will breed.

‘They have a very good source of food; it is not go­ing to get bet­ter un­til some­one does some­thing about the bins sit­u­a­tion.’

Com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor and for­mer Soroba res­i­dent Sean Mac­In­tyre said: ‘I would hope the coun­cil would look at the sched­ule again for Soroba.

‘The prob­lem needs ad­dressed. It is lu­di­crous. The sched­ule needs up­dated to two-weekly up­lifts.

‘I know that there are rats about, but I am get­ting re­ports about peo­ple see­ing them dur­ing the day.

‘They con­tacted the coun­cil and were told they would have to pay around £76 [to have pest con­trol come out].

‘Some fam­i­lies can’t af­ford that. I know noth­ing comes free in this world, but this is caused by the lack of up­lifts. It needs to be ad­dressed.

‘I was up there on Satur­day and the bins were emp­tied on Wed­nes­day and two out of six were full. I re­ally do think Soroba is un­like any­where else in the town.’

Coun­cil­lor for Oban South and the Isles Neil Mac­In­tyre said: ‘ We know it is a mess. You have to put your hands up. I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity. I voted for it and we are go­ing to have to fix it.’

Fel­low area coun­cil­lor Roddy McCuish said: ‘We did re­ceive com­plaints. The pest con­trol of­fi­cer did visit the area and took the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tions.

‘I fully un­der­stand this prob­lem could get worse. At present we are work­ing with Ar­gyll Com­mu­nity Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ACHA) to see about ad­di­tional up­lifts. Un­til that work is com­pleted we will be mon­i­tor­ing the area weekly to try and pre­vent this hap­pen­ing again. I have sym­pa­thy with the res­i­dents of Soroba.

‘The pest con­trol of­fi­cer vis­ited the area at my re­quest, I would ask other res­i­dents if they are con­cerned about rats to con­tact me di­rectly on 01546 604305.’

A spokesman for Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil said: ‘ We in­tro­duced the new refuse and re­cy­cling ser­vice to 47,000 prop­er­ties across Ar­gyll and Bute, which has been a huge change for our com­mu­ni­ties.

‘It is work­ing well in most ar­eas and we would like to thank peo­ple for their pa­tience and for work­ing with us to help in­crease re­cy­cling.

‘ We will ar­range for ad­di­tional up­lifts to deal with over­flow­ing bins and apol­o­gise for any in­con­ve­nience.

‘ We are grate­ful to res­i­dents for their pa­tience.

‘The to­tal vol­ume of the large gen­eral waste bins ex­ceeds the vol­ume of stor­age when com­pared to a stan­dard green bin be­ing pro­vided to each in­di­vid­ual prop­erty.

‘We are work­ing with ACHA to re­solve the is­sues be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced and iden­tify ar­eas where ad­di­tional bins can be stored. There is lim­ited space on the street with­out com­pro­mis­ing safety.

‘We sought pub­lic health ad­vice from the Scot­tish En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency when we were think­ing about a three-weekly model.

‘We were ad­vised that there should not be any in­creased risk to pub­lic health as long as ex­ist­ing com­mon sense stan­dards are fol­lowed such as wrap­ping waste and keep­ing the lids of bins firmly closed.

‘Any­one who is con­cerned should con­tact the prop­erty owner or their land­lord in the first in­stance. The coun­cil can pro­vide erad­i­ca­tion ser­vices, for which a fee is payable.’

Oban’s coun­cil­lors and com­mu­nity coun­cil­lors are due to dis­cuss Soroba’s over­flow­ing bins at a meet­ing with Ar­gyll and Bute Coun­cil’s head of ser­vice on Thurs­day Fe­bru­ary 9 at 10.30am in ACHA of­fices. The meet­ing is not open to the pub­lic, but the press are in­vited to at­tend.

This rat was caught in their gar­den by the Brown’s Stafford­shire bull ter­rier.

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