Policy to shoot rodents off BLC books

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A Big Lakes County policy authorizing staff to shoot and kill burrowing rodents on vital county infrastructure is officially off the books.
At its regular meeting Nov. 23, council approved a motion to cancel the policy for rodent control, as recommended by Kevin Cymbaluk, director of public works.
“The policy was put in place to allow our utilities operators to perform rodent damage control for the County’s wastewater infrastructure,” Cymbaluk said.
The method of control utilized small-calibre firearms personally owned and licensed by the operators.
The policy was adopted in May 2011 by the M.D. of Big Lakes council to control rodents in sewage lagoons and reservoirs.
“During the 2020 internal audit by our health and safety contractor, we were advised that this arrangement was not proper according to Alberta Occupational Health and Safety,” Cymbaluk told council.
“It was advised that to be in compliance, Big Lakes would have to own the firearms and any users of the firearms would need to have additional training and licensing.
“We immediately discontinued the practise and now contract rodent-control activities.
“We have two qualified Fish and Wildlife officers to do the work.”
When the policy was created, Big Lakes’ utilities foreman and utilities officers were authorized to discharge firearms to shoot rodents.

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