The council discussed the continuation of the city’s skunk removal services and decided to keep them as is. Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

COLD LAKE – A lively discussion took place in City of Cold Lake council chambers regarding the city’s skunk removal services.  

Andrew Jabs, manager of Land Use Planning, Development, and Regulatory Services, presented key details about the existing service and proposed various options for council’s consideration, emphasizing the need to balance effectiveness and cost efficiency. 

In a corporate priorities meeting on Feb. 20, Jabs began by providing context to the service, stating, “Services were initially provided in April and May on an as-needed informal basis until a formal contracted service agreement was arranged with a local business named Effective Pest Control, which came into effect at the beginning of June 2023.”  

He explained the process. 

“To receive service, customers complete an application form and consent to having the contractor enter their private land for a period of five consecutive days. Animals captured were relocated to a natural habitat area, while trapping attempts were concluded at the end of the five-day period if unsuccessful.” 

Jabs delved into the 2023 performance, revealing that there were “33 requests for service at 14 unique locations, resulting in animals being captured 14 times.” However, he pointed out that “there were 19 unsuccessful attempts to capture skunks,” leading to just over $6,000 being spent on the service.  

Jabs suggested, “We can continue offering the skunk removal service similar to 2023,” but also presented other options for consideration. 

He outlined potential options, such as continuing the service with the existing or additional funding, revising the service to a refund model, limiting service availability to spring and summer, or discontinuing the service altogether.  

Jabs stated, “Adjusting the service availability to be restricted to the spring and summer months would also allow funding to be used when demand is likely the greatest.” 

Mayor Craig Copeland expressed surprise at the low customer count, stating, “I was quite surprised that that’s all we had for customers.” He suggested working with frequent customers to find alternative solutions. 

Coun. Chris Vining voiced support for the program but raised concerns about potential misuse if it remains a free service. He suggested, “If you ran it for a full season as we did last year, just let it run and then see what it comes back with or if we have to put some kind of a service fee on false alarms or something.” 

Council decided to continue the existing skunk removal program without any changes. 

By Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 07, 2024 at 10:43