Fraserville resident seeking nuisance program for mosquitoes by December

 

A mosquito, with sack full of blood, sits on a door screen belonging to Fraserville resident Brenda Kokko, who took the photo. Kokko is one of many residents aiming for a nuisance program to be put in place along with the current West Nile Virus program to combat the annual mosquito problem in that area of Amherstburg.

A mosquito, with sack full of blood, sits on a door screen belonging to Fraserville resident Brenda Kokko, who took the photo. Kokko is one of many residents aiming for a nuisance program to be put in place along with the current West Nile Virus program to combat the annual mosquito problem in that area of Amherstburg.

By Ron Giofu

 

The mosquitoes in Fraserville have been a long-standing issue and a Girard St. resident is pressing the town to have a nuisance program adopted later this year.

Brenda Kokko is aiming to have a nuisance program adopted by the end of the year. She said she wants it in place by then to ensure that when next spring rolls around, the program can be instituted to give residents in that subdivision some long-awaited relief.

Town council, at its July 14 meeting, authorized administration to work with GDG Environmental on finding solutions to the problem through a nuisance program and to report back to council with answers to questions posed by Kokko. Kokko acknowledges the program will cost money but believes the town can’t delay any further in getting a nuisance program in place.

“I want a Christmas present,” said Kokko. “I want it approved by December.”

Kokko said her husband has lived in the Fraserville area for 45 years and she has been there eight years with the couple battling the problem for most of those years.

“I’ve been here eight years and it’s been unbearable for eight years,” said Kokko. “It’s really been a long time.”

The Fraserville resident said she has repeatedly e-mailed council members about the issue with some being very interested in finding solutions while others haven’t been as responsive. She admitted she has some concerns about it being an election year and whether new council members will be up to speed but she said she will try and keep candidates informed on the matter so a decision can be made and a program started early next year.

“I’m looking to reduce the population of mosquitoes so we can have a quality of life in our neighbourhood,” said Kokko. “It’s important we have something by spring. It really needs to be treated aggressively.”

Kokko hasn’t stopped at town council in her efforts to seek support from elected officials.

“I’ve also made all levels of government aware of the predicament in our neighbourhood,” she said, adding she has been in contact several times with Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.

Noting she doesn’t blame town council for the predicament, she believes their efforts have to be focused on the nuisance program. Repellents only go so far and, being as many are oil-based, she said that gets into furniture and clothing.

Five Fraserville residents have listed their homes for sale because of the mosquito problem, said Kokko, but said people are suffering emotionally, physically and economically to the point where home values are being diminished.  She added her and her husband have no plans to sell their home.

The mosquitoes can survive a tough winter, she added.

“As soon as the temperatures rise, they’re out,” she said. “It’s a long season for us.”

The problem is 24 hours per day, Kokko added.

“When we go out to cut our lawns, it’s like a horror movie,” she said. “They rise up out of the grass. It’s enough. It’s not right someone has to deal with that.”

Mark Ardis, project manager with GDG Environmental, noted that larviciding for West Nile Virus is underway but noted that weather has impacted the mosquito population as a whole. A shorter spring means mosquitoes develop at once with this year seeing mosquitoes living longer and overlapping in generations.

“We have three generations all at once,” Ardis told town council July 14.

There are 60 species of mosquitoes in Ontario with four vectors carrying West Nile Virus, he said, with high counts of mosquitoes measured not only in Fraserville but in the Stone Ridge Blvd. area as well. In Fraserville, he said there are 7.5 hectares treated with larviciding and that GDG goes out at least once a week to treat. Phragmites has also proven to be problematic, Ardis explained, and said many species of mosquitoes live amongst the phragmites and are able to lay eggs there before dying off.

Ardis indicated 2013 and 2014 are “some of the worst years on record” for mosquitoes and that the weather hasn’t been hot enough for a long enough period of time this year to act as a deterrent for mosquitoes.

“We’re not getting the scorching heat waves that allows adult mosquitoes to die off,” he said.
The town’s manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt acknowledged the town and the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit have worked with GDG on the West Nile Virus program but said the town has never had a nuisance program for mosquitoes. He said administration is working on an “extensive proposal for council to consider” but warned it will have to be paid for.

“There will definitely be a cost impact for the nuisance program,” he said.

Kokko outlined the problems the neighbours have had with mosquitoes to council that evening as well with some members acknowledging it is a long-standing issue.

“It’s just as frustrating for us as it is for you not knowing what to do,” Councillor Bob Pillon told Kokko. “It’s not going to be an easy fix. Hopefully (the new council) can deal with it better next year.”

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