Centre Wellington grant program to sort out termites

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Centre Wellington looking at grant program to tackle termites

This recommendation by Center Wellington staff comes after contract negotiations with a pest control supplier for an approved community-wide treatment program failed

CENTER WELLINGTON — Termites are back on the agenda at Center Wellington with a new reimbursement strategy recommended by staff.

A report to Center Wellington Council recommends that the Council approve a grant program to partially compensate property owners for termite treatments.

In the summer of 2022, the previous council authorized employees to begin negotiations with Balson Preventative Solutions Inc. to offer nematode treatments on properties with termite problems up to a $200,000 limit.

A previous investigation by an entomologist found that about 259 properties in Fergus and Elora had confirmed or suspected termite activity, with an additional 219 neighboring properties at risk.

However, the contract negotiations broke down in the fall and the termite treatment made no progress. Municipality staff previously declined to discuss the details of why contract negotiations with EloraFergusToday broke down, and the report said only that staff were “unable to negotiate a contract that met the requirements of the RFP ( Request for Proposal) corresponded”.

With the municipality’s termite problem back on council, staffers are now recommending a grant program similar to that run by the province from 1978 to 1990, when the Department of the Environment funded a control program that allowed municipalities to help property owners with the costs termite treatment.

“The community could use the $200,000 already budgeted for termite management to fund a similar grant program,” wrote Brett Salmon, executive director of planning and development, in the report.

“It is expected that a grant program would consist of a grant of approximately $500 to $1,000 per property to fund some of the actual cost of termite treatment.”

Salmon noted that this program is relatively easy to administer and could be implemented with existing staff while shutting out the community from actual treatment, allowing property owners to choose their own treatment options. It also provides a municipal record of treated properties.

“This option seeks to minimize both the financial impact and risk associated with termite management services in the community while supporting properties with the grant program,” the report said.

If the Council supports this option, the staff will submit a more detailed report to a spring meeting to seek approval of the grant program details.

While the grant program is the option staff recommended, the report also laid out a status quo option, under which the community ceases further termite control efforts, and one under which the earlier call for proposals is refined and revisited is brought to market.

This report will be discussed at a council meeting on Monday.