Hospital demolition leads to concerns about vermin
City needs comprehensive rat program: Miller
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
“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.”
Demolition excavators sit on the former St. Catharines General Hospital property ready to begin the teardown of the Queenston Street facility.