A group of Guildford residents say their rat-infested neighbourhood has gotten so bad that even the cats have thrown in the towel.
Alan Xu and more than a dozen of his neighbours contacted the Now-Leader to bring attention to a rat infestation near the Shannon Gardens Apartments area (10228 148 St.). Xu said he was speaking on behalf of Shannon Gardens residents, as they are concerned about repercussions from their landlord for speaking out.
The manager of the Shannon Gardens property, however, acknowledged there is an infestation and said they are taking steps to address the issue.
Xu said “thousands” of rats, which have “grown to as large as 2-foot long,” are coming from the Shannon Gardens garbage area and nearby shrubbery. Over the past five years, he said, the problem has expanded throughout the neighbourhood.
“When I go to the garbage can at Shannon Gardens at night time, if I kick the can, 50 rats will come out,” Xu said.
Hundreds of holes in the ground, presumably created by rats, line the Shannon Gardens property and surrounding area. One of Xu’s neighbours showed the Now-Leader damage caused to his vehicle by the rats. The neighbour installed a high-frequency sound device inside his vehicle to deter the rats, but it has had little effect.
“My other car, which is on my driveway, is almost completely totalled because of the rat infestation problem,” Xu added.
Xu said he has two pet cats and his neighbour has three. The cats, he said, have given up the fight.
“The cats don’t even chase after the rats anymore because there’s too many.”
Xu said he contacted the media because he has no where else to turn. Management at Shannon Gardens told him they’re working to address the issue, but he says they are not. He said he’s requested city bylaw or parks department to clean up the shrubbery between his house and Shannon Gardens, which has been a sanctuary for the rats, but was told it’s private property. Xu contends that the strip of land is city property, and the rat problem is beyond the ability of the residents to fix.
“I think the onus is on the city to come and clean up this rat problem because I don’t even think Shannon Gardens has the ability to do that,” Xu said.
The property manager of Shannon Gardens, who did not provide his full name, told the Now-Leader that pest control visit the property every month – “they are taking care of it.”
“The rat problem is everywhere, it’s not just in Shannon Gardens. Everywhere in Surrey,” the property manager said.
The manager said the pest controller noted the poison and bait they are using is not as strong as it was before due to new restrictions from the provincial government.
In an effort to protect wildlife, the province banned the sale and use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides for 18 months, effective July 21, 2021.
The property manager echoed Xu that, during the evening, up to 50 rats can be feasting in the garbage area of Shannon apartments. He said the bins are also a popular place for homeless people to collect bottles, and can result in trash being left on the street.
Thursday morning, the Now-Leader observed a man cleaning some of the garbage.
The property manager agreed that the rat problem is a frustration.
“I’m not saying that they are not right. Part of the problem is the garbage bin. I understand that. But as I mentioned before, this rat problem is everywhere.”
The City of Surrey has not yet responded to a request for comment made Sept. 21. However, the following day, a representative from the city visited the neighbourhood to inspect the problem, Xu confirmed.