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Rats invade garden

04 Apr 2013

Rats invade garden Image

Volunteers who care for the Docklands Community Garden say council has failed to act against a rat plague that is threatening to destroy the garden.

The rats have tunnelled through every garden bed and have eaten almost all the produce grown over summer.

Any remaining produce is unsafe to consume because rat urine can cause illness and disease in humans.

Scores of rats have also been observed on the new multi-purpose courts in the evening.

According to Greg Wise from the garden committee, the City of Melbourne was notified in January that a plague of European rats were destroying the garden.

The committee requested assistance in tackling the problem and asked for signage to advise visitors not to consume produce from the garden due to the health risks.

Mr Wise received confirmation in January from City of Melbourne officers that a baiting program would start.

Mr Wise also spoke to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and City of Melbourne director of city design Rob Adams who said they would ensure the problem was fixed.

But according to Mr Wise none of the promises made by council have eventuated.

Mr Wise said the situation was becoming increasingly frustrating for the volunteers who work in the garden.

However, a City of Melbourne spokesperson said council had been monitoring and treating the rodent problem in Docklands for some time.

According to the spokesperson, rodents are a common problem in high-density areas where food shelter and water are plentiful.

The spokesperson said the prolonged warmer weather was also likely to have resulted in increased rodent activity.

According to the spokesperson, council officers visited the garden in January and had given advice to the garden volunteers about the rat problem.

“A baiting program which was already in place in the area was extended and increased to weekly treatments to help reduce the rodent population,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said council officers and a professional pest control operator visited the garden again on March 8 and would continue to assess progress and the adequacy of the baiting program.

According to the spokesperson, City of Melbourne was developing signage for the garden that would provide information to garden users on washing of fruit and vegetables.

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