An owl living in the Kings Road greenspace was found dead in November. (Photo couresty Rob Vanzella)

Saanich councillors scurry to ban rat poisons on municipal properties

A ‘small but important first step’ to protect local wildlife, councillor says

Rats, cat, owls and other furry Saanich residents may be a little bit safer after the July 13 council meeting when councillors Ned Taylor and Colin Plant call on the District to ban anticoagulant rodenticides on municipal properties.

The harmful impacts of these pesticides “have been well-documented for more than a decade now” and have been seen right here in Saanich, Taylor said, referencing the recent deaths of two owls near the Kings Road greenspace.

READ ALSO: Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

The first was a Barred Owl found slumped at the bottom of a tree in November 2019 and the second, a Great Horned Owl, died at a nearby construction site on April 15. Necropsy reports show both owls died from suspected rodenticide toxicity.

In a report to council, Taylor and Plant recommend that municipal staff be directed to stop using anticoagulant rodenticides – a move the City of North Vancouver made in mid-June – and work to educate residents and local business owners about the “harmful impacts” of the poisons.

The duo also ask that the mayor write to Premier John Horgan to request the province ban the use of anticoagulant rodenticides and that their report be shared with other municipalities across B.C.

READ ALSO: Saanich mayor joins fight to protect local wildlife from rat poisoning after second owl dies

While Taylor and Plant would like to see community use of anticoagulant rodenticides banned in Saanich, they said it’s not within the jurisdiction of municipal governments.

READ ALSO: Necropsy results show Kings Park owl likely died from rat poison

Mayor Fred Haynes has voiced support for a rodenticide ban and Plant noted that council hasn’t received correspondence from residents opposing the recommendations – though he’s heard that some pest control professionals feel they may need to keep using anticoagulant rodenticides in their line of work.

Council will look at taking a “small but important first step” that Plant hopes will lead to a province-wide ban. If not, at least Saanich could demonstrate alternative actions to residents, he said.

Saanich council meets Monday, July 13 at 7 p.m. find the agenda and how to participate from home online at saanich.ca.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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