EMS hopeful rat tale comes to a close

School infestation discovered last fall

Students at Earl Marriott Secondary are sharing the South Surrey school with uninvited visitors this year – rats.

Identified in the 15751 16 Ave. building last fall, the rodents became a growing concern in the spring, school district spokesman Doug Strachan confirmed Monday.

Initial strategies to address the problem “appeared to do the trick,” but had to be repeated around March, and then ramped up in late April-early May, when a larger problem was identified, Strachan said.

“There’s been progress. There’s fewer being caught or seen now,” he said. “Everything that can be done is being done at this point.”

According to information posted on the school website last month, officials are working with a pest-control company, the district’s facilities and health and safety departments, and Fraser Health to address the problem.

Parents are aware of the issue and have raised no concerns, Strachan added.

“There’s been positive feedback by the parents that it’s being managed appropriately.”

The strategy for addressing the problem to date has included an increase in pest-control visits to the site, from two or three times a week to at least five times a week.

As well, an extra custodian has been brought in to clean garbage outside the building; lunch hour garbage is being removed within 30 minutes; pea gravel is being placed around exterior walls to prevent rodent entry; and affected interior spaces are being sanitized on weekends.

Regular meetings with Fraser Health officials have determined the school has “the best cleanliness rating for a building of our size,” principal Peter Johnston’s online letter states. Both the cafeteria and home economics facilities have been deemed safe, it adds – a point Fraser Health spokesman Roy Thorpe-Dorward confirmed.

Health inspectors were last at the school May 13, Thorpe-Dorward said.

“It was a very good inspection and they received a low hazard rating,” he said. “They were doing all the right things.”

As long as an increase in the problem isn’t noted, the health authority will next inspect the school in early September, he said.

Strachan said the principal has also reported positive response from the students, who are “really getting” the need to not leave food and trash in the hallways.

Strachan noted rodent infestations are not unusual in buildings where there is a large amount of food. In his seven years with the district, he is aware of only three or four schools in which the problem was to a degree that pest control needed to be brought in.

In most cases, the issue is mice, he said.

“Considering we have 125 schools, it’s not that often,” Strachan said.

Student safety is “first and foremost,” he noted.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

The cover of Golf 101 with Bob Dimpleton (left), an instructional book created by South Surrey golf pro Mark Kuhn (inset). Right, a page from the book detailing what to do if your ball lands on the cart path. (Contributed images)
South Surrey golf pro releases new edition of popular instructional book

Mark Kuhn’s Dimpleton family returns in updated Golf 101 e-book

Musician Dana Vande is seen in a screenshot from a music video on Youtube. Vande recently released a pro-lockdown track in response to an Eric Clapton and Van Morrison anti-lockdown track.
Cloverdale musician writes pandemic response song to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton

Dana Vande answers a Clapton-Morrison anti-lockdown track with a pro-lockdown track

Surrey RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera as seen in a cut-out used for the detachment’s Operation Double Take program. (File photo)
Surrey’s tall ‘Operation Double Take’ cop is on the move

Cut-out of Constable Mike Della-Paolera used in program to curb speeding and dangerous driving

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Delta Police dog retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read