Soroba residents’ rat surprise
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.