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Does Montreal need an action plan to deal with its rat problem?

Global News logo Global News 2018-10-10 Annabelle Olivier
a bird sitting on top of a dirt road: Rat in NDG follows waste leaking out of a garbage truck. Monday, July 30, 2018. © Cora MacDonald / Global News Rat in NDG follows waste leaking out of a garbage truck. Monday, July 30, 2018.

Not only does Montreal have a rodent problem, but the city isn't doing enough to control the rat population -- at least that's what the official opposition at city hall is saying.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Ensemble Montreal Leader Lionel Perez, said the city needs to put in place an action plan like other big cities including Paris, New York and Chicago.

"There are almost 900 complaints on an annual basis," Perez said, referring to the number of calls in connection with rats on the city's 311 line.

"What we are proposing today is a proper plan to be able to deal with rats and other animals in a constructive manner and we believe there are many steps to take."

WATCHLarge rat colony has Montrealers uneasy

The estimated rat population in Montreal is between five to six million, or two to three rats per capita, according to numbers cited in Ensemble Montreal's proposed motion.

Most of the city's rats live and roam in Montreal sewers, but Ensemble Montreal says that they are becoming more common in public spaces due to the record number of construction sites in the city.

READ MORE:  Move over Pizza Rat, New York City has a new rodent in town

Having a systemic rat eradication program in place for the duration of any work on the city's sewer network is one solution proposed by Ensemble Montreal.

But eradication alone isn't a sustainable approach, the party is also recommending tackling the rodents' food source by overhauling domestic and commercial waste management, including a program to replace open trash bins in public spaces with closed receptacles to limit access.

READ MORE: NDG residents say they are sick of rodents, waste taking over their streets

It comes down to a matter of public health and safety, according to Ensemble Montreal.

"The research that we've done is that rats, among others, are conduits of different diseases," Perez said.

Not only are rodents vectors for disease, but they can also cause significant damage to buildings by gnawing on cables and support structures, Ensemble Montreal says.

--with files from Global's Dan Spector

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