Problem mosquitos could trigger referendum in Quebec communities

Mosquito swarm

While most of us are willing to put up with a few mosquito bites if it means lazy summer evenings by the lake, residents in two of Quebec’s municipalities, Fort Coulonge and Mansfield-et-Pontefract, are finding this year’s mosquitos intolerable.

Some residents have asked their local municipality to do something to fix the problem, but Mansfield-et-Pontefract mayor Kathleen Belec told the CBC that both of the municipalities would need to spray for it to be effective against the mosquito problem. “It’s both or nothing,” Belec told the CBC. “We are so close in proximity; no bridge is going to stop mosquitos.”

According to the CBC, the cost to spray would break down into a special tax added to each household. The price tag to ease the mosquito problem would be more than a million dollars over the next five years; residents of the two municipalities would have to pay approximately $140 the first year and $160 for the following four years.

Mayor Belec has expressed concern that the annual cost might be too much for some residents, and they’ve been able to register their opposition to the plan.

Municipal leaders are meeting to decide whether a referendum on the issue will go ahead. While the preventative spray will cost the municipalities a million dollars, a vote to even consider the plan would also cost local government up to $25,000.

According to Mansfield-et-Pontefract’s mayor, whatever the outcome, people won’t be happy. While hotter days ahead might help keep mosquitos at bay, for now residents are just going to have to stock up on bug spray.