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WHEREAS all Alberta communities, their citizens and businesses benefit from the Alberta Rat and Rabies Control Program, which has been in place since 1954;AND WHEREAS specific Alberta municipalities are providing the program due to their strategic location along the Saskatchewan border, and the municipalities are convinced that this program adds value to the Alberta Advantage; AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has introduced additional responsibilities for those jurisdictions delivering the program, including awareness and school programs, while maintaining the number of inspections that are being done in the control zones;AND WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has not increased funding for the program since 1997, despite the addition of these program enhancements and the impacts of inflation on the costs of carrying out the traditional program elements; AND WHEREAS the ratepayers of the specific jurisdictions carrying out the program are now experiencing a growing financial burden, as a result of providing this program for the benefit of all Albertans, despite diligent efforts to deliver the program in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to continue to support the Rat and Rabies Control Program as a key part of the Alberta Advantage; AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AAMDC urge the Government of Alberta to increase funding support for the Rat and Rabies Control Program as required in order to ensure that local municipal governments, carrying out the program on behalf of the rest of the province, are fully compensated for the costs incurred in carrying out this program.
The Alberta Rat and Rabies Program was created by the Province of Alberta in 1954 after the discovery of the first rat colony in 1950, to prevent the infestation of rats and skunk rabies from Saskatchewan or elsewhere, and is now regulated under the Agricultural Pests Act, 1984. Rats are recognized as the most destructive vertebrate animal in the world, both in terms of economic losses they cause and in their effects on human health. Rats consume or contaminate approximately 1/5 of all the world’s field crops planted each year, including at least 4% of all stored grains. Each rat consumes about 10-20 pounds of food per year while contaminating 5-10 times that amount; a single rat will produce about 25,000 droppings a year. Gnawing and burrowing activities cause physical damage to buildings, structures, pipes and electric wires. Rats are responsible for the spread of a number of diseases, either directly by contamination of food and feeds or indirectly by way of rat fleas or mites. The Rat and Rabies Program provides services in a control zone comprised of ranges one, two and three west of the Fourth Meridian in Alberta and east into the Province of Saskatchewan to create a buffer zone from the border. Infestations, wherever they are found or reported in Alberta or the buffer zone, are to also be addressed by this program. The following jurisdictions provide the program in Alberta: the Municipal District of Bonnyville, County of Vermilion River, Municipal District of Wainwright, Municipal District of Provost, Municipal District of Acadia, Cypress County, Special Areas 2, 3 and 4.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.