Hos­pi­tal de­mo­li­tion leads to con­cerns about ver­min

City needs com­pre­hen­sive rat pro­gram: Miller

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Front Page - AL­LAN BENNER

Rats liv­ing in the derelict hos­pi­tal on Queen­ston Street could soon be look­ing for a new home, when the de­mo­li­tion of the mas­sive build­ing be­gins later this month.

Mer­rit­ton ward Coun. Greg Miller said rat prob­lems were among the top three is­sues in his area when he spoke to vot­ers dur­ing his re­cent elec­tion cam­paign.

“Cer­tainly when you’re tak­ing down a big aban­doned site like that, it be­comes a con­cern. I haven’t heard specif­i­cally what the plans are, but for me and Coun. (Lori) Lit­tle­ton and city staff, it’s top of mind,” he said, ad­ding the city will be work­ing with the con­trac­tor dur­ing de­mo­li­tion to make sure the po­ten­tial rat prob­lem is ad­dressed.

“Whether it’s bait­ing or catch­ing them … we have to make sure they don’t in­fest neigh­bour­hoods.”

The city launched a res­i­den­tial rat con­trol re­bate pro­gram ear­lier this year that cov­ers half the cost of hir­ing li­cenced On­tario ex­ter­mi­na­tors to as­sist with the re­moval of rats from ex­te­ri­ors of res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, up to $200.

But in ad­di­tion to the re­bate pro­gram, Miller said the city needs a com­pre­hen­sive plan to deal with the prob­lem.

“It’s a city­wide is­sue and you’re not go­ing to solve it by one neigh­bour deal­ing with it and ev­ery house around him not deal­ing with it,” he said.

De­vel­oper Michael Cor­rado, a part­ner with prop­erty-owner Queen­ston Oak­dale Ltd., hopes that af­ter sit­ting va­cant for more than five years, any rats that might have once called the build­ing home will have al­ready

moved on.

“Since it’s been va­cant for so many years and there hasn’t been peo­ple or food or any­thing in there, of­ten it’s a lot less of an is­sue,” he said in an in­ter­view ear­lier this week.

De­mo­li­tion con­trac­tor Mike Starnino from Starnino En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­cov­ery Inc. said he hasn’t seen any rats scur­ry­ing through­out the build­ing when he has walked through. How­ever, he said he will work with the city to mit­i­gate any prob­lems that dis­placed ver­min may have on neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties dur­ing the de­mo­li­tion.

Cor­rado said there aren’t many res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties near the for­mer hos­pi­tal that could be im­pacted if any rats do scurry out of the build­ing, once the walls start tum­bling down.

“We don’t re­ally abut much res­i­den­tial,” he said. “The front is all com­mer­cial, and be­hind us it’s pretty well a huge park, so if any­thing they’ll mi­grate into the park.”

BOB TYMCZYSZYN THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

De­mo­li­tion ex­ca­va­tors sit on the for­mer St. Catharines Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal prop­erty ready to be­gin the tear­down of the Queen­ston Street fa­cil­ity.

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