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Rat problem is city-wide: DTES builder 0

JOSEPH SAPIENZA, 24 HOURS
Rats are infesting the entire city, not just the Downtown Eastside, says a local housing development builder. (FILE PHOTO)

Rats are infesting the entire city, not just the Downtown Eastside, says a local housing development builder. (FILE PHOTO)

The builder of the housing development at the centre of a rat plague in the Downtown Eastside claims there is a vermin problem across the city and is not just isolated to the impoverished neighbourhood.

Builder Marc Williams did not attend a highly-publicized rat count at the site of the former Pantages Theatre on East Hastings Street Tuesday night, but he downplayed the extent of rat infestation there compared to other areas around town.

Together with the baiting efforts of the independent Vancouver Rat Project at the site - which put down traps along one of its boundaries last week - Williams said his company also cleans the property, which will be known as Sequel 138, weekly.

But the endless dumping of rubbish by passers-by was making it difficult to maintain the condition of the property, which is still being demolished.

"We actually clean our site on a regular basis but it's the continual dumping we're dealing with from people in the laneway - throwing their garbage over the fence and then it's sort of being strewn about," he said.

"So we do a cleaning program and we're certainly going to do our share of controlling the rats."

He also insisted the rat issue wasn't restricted to one area.

"I think there's a problem with rats throughout the whole city," he said. "But we're going to continue to do our share to work towards rat control."

The Vancouver Rat Project, which is led by veterinarian Chelsea Himsworth, began trapping rats in alleyways throughout the DTES in August last year.

It is specifically focusing on rats in that neighbourhood, even though the project recognizes "that rats are present in other areas of Vancouver."

"Depending on the results of this project, it may be worthwhile to study rats in other areas of Vancouver in the future," the VRP researchers said.


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