CENTRE WELLINGTON - Several councillors appear ready to spend big when it comes to tackling the community's termite problem.
What to do about the insects emerged as a hot topic when council met Monday to review the township's 10-year capital forecast as part of ongoing 2022 budget preparations.
Coun. Ian MacRae noted Centre Wellington had forecast spending $60,000 per year for the next four years on a termite management program. In his view that sum was insufficient.
According to a recent study close to 500 homes are affected by the pests.
"We’re not even going to deal with the problem, it’s just money that’s being wasted," MacRae said. "If we really want to do something we have to look at something more significant and extend it out further."
He suggested $100,000 per year for "at least 12 years" would be more appropriate and also asked staff look at a promising new-to-Canada chemical that has seen success in the United States.
MacRae said he's been receiving concerns from residents who, despite their best efforts, are struggling to stay on top of termite infestations.
"These people need help," he said, noting as home and mortgage prices go up, the "ability to cover the cost of termite treatment is becoming tougher."
"The community is looking to us as leaders to address this termite problem," MacRae said. "These things are continuing to expand outward and we need to stop them before more houses are affected."
In June council heard from an entomologist who estimated he could eradicate the township's termite problem for $1 million over five years, however he didn't have the capacity to take it on.
On Monday, managing director of planning and development Brett Salmon said the township was now talking to additional vendors to come up with other options.
At the end of October, a local termite expert will appear before council to answer councillors' questions about treatment options and chemicals, Salmon said.
MacRae suggested council hold off on allocating additional funding until after that presentation, but several of his colleagues expressed interest in putting resources behind the effort when the time came.
"I get a lot of feedback from citizens that this is important to them," Coun. Stephen Kitras said.
Coun. Bob Foster mused the township could consider spending more money upfront.
"I'd like to see us hit the problem more aggressively in the early years with the goal of eradication," he explained.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com