This summer marks the end of a four-year trial program to address high levels of nuisance mosquitoes in our community. This program is paid for by the community via a levy on the property tax bills of Kanata North residents. The average household pays approximately $35 a year for this program. It is a unique program as it exists nowhere else in the city.
I have spent a considerable amount of time this summer working with our current provider to understand the program better and to address large populations of mosquitoes throughout our community. Despite some perceptions, large mosquito populations and breeding grounds are not limited to only around the Beaver Pond and Carp River. This is an issue across Kanata North.
I have always said that I believe the future of this program is a community decision. It’s a unique program to address an uncommon problem, and it is funded directly by you. Therefore, it is the community’s decision whether it should move forward for another four years.
I am committed to facilitating a fair and transparent process in which the community can make an informed decision about this program. Today I’d like to share a bit more about what that process will look like.
The first step is a request for proposals to be posted by the city, seeking a supplier to administer the program. This RFP went live on August 27th and can be accessed through Merx. This RFP will be open for 15 days following which the city’s evaluation team will evaluate the proposals and determine who would be the future supplier for this program – if it moves forward. By doing this first, with no commitment of moving forward, the community will have all the information required to make an informed decision and can ask questions directly to the supplier.
Although the RFP proposes a similar approach to the program as in past years, it does explicitly include a requirement for an 80 percent reduction in the mosquito population. The RFP prescribes how that is to be measured and increases the required number of test sites in calculating this. Further, it does include a three-year research project to study any impact of the program on plant species in the ecosystem.
Secondly, once the supplier has been identified, I will be hosting public meetings on Tuesday, October 22nd and Tuesday, November 19th of this year. This is an opportunity to ask questions and become informed about the program.
Lastly, pending Council approval of the program and funding model, I will facilitate a community vote over a two-week period in early 2020 to decide whether this program continues. More details will be shared about this as we get closer and dates are confirmed.
I expect many conversations about the future of this program in the coming months, and I welcome your feedback at any time. Please reach out directly at Jenna.Sudds@ottawa.ca with any questions or concerns you may have.