Termites will get their marching orders as Centre Wellington begins termite management program

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Balson Preventative Solutions Inc. will provide termite control services in the township and the company plans on commencing work this fall.

Council approved hiring the company, at an upset limit of $200,000, at its Aug. 22 meeting.

The project includes public education, fall nematode treatment, and provision of fall yard wood waste clean-up bins for the initial one-year term.

Back in 2020, Termite Research Services conducted a survey of neighbourhoods in Fergus and Elora and determined there are 259 properties in the red zone (active termites) and 219 in the blue zone – a buffer zone around the red zone.

Council approved $60,000 in the 2021 budget for termite management and added another $140,000 in 2022, resulting in the $200,000 available this year.

The 10-year capital forecast also includes $100,000 per year in 2023, 2024 and 2025 for termite control.

This contract is for outdoor treatment only.

According to the report that went to council, “Through the negotiation process, it is anticipated that township staff will be able to determine a rough order of magnitude of average costs for termite mitigation strategies internal to residential dwellings, and better understand the financial burden borne by township residents associated with internal remediation efforts.

“Once this information is known, staff will formulate options, with potential financial impact to township cash flows, for council consideration. All options will be provided with a lens to temper the immediate up-front costs associated with internal remediation efforts for residents.”

Residents who have grappled with termites in their homes suggest the cost is about $5,000 for an indoor treatment that lasts a few years.

Councillor Ian MacRae asked if businesses, like landscapers, will be part of the education program.

“It’s a very big part of public education,” said chief building official Randy Bossence. “They will focus on the red zone but have to reach out to all the players involved.”

Councillor Kirk McElwain wanted to know if residents could be forced to have treatments.

“Centre Wellington does have a termite bylaw that does allow enforcement,” Bossence responded. “We could order treatment. If it came to that, (the company) would treat the property at (the homeowner’s) own cost.”

Councillor Bob Foster wanted to know how residents will access the program and whether it’s first come, first served.

“The first step is reaching out,” Bossence said. “(The company) needs permission to enter the property. We want to let the homeowners know it’s starting and there will be something to sign back.

“There will be enormous outreach at the start. But we want to accomplish it all this fall.”

Properties will likely be treated on a block-by-block basis, working methodically through the red and blue zones. It will take more than one treatment, which is why money has been allotted for subsequent years.

Maps of the termite zones in Elora and Fergus can be found at  https://centrewellington.civicweb.net/document/38755/Termite.