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Fear of rats leads Glace Bay woman to pay to have vacant lot cleared

Audrey Currie of Glace Bay stands next to the vacant lot which she took upon herself to clear out. She said the workers did a great job, and was thankful the lilac tree is still standing on the property.
Audrey Currie of Glace Bay stands next to the vacant lot which she took upon herself to clear out. She said the workers did a great job, and was thankful the lilac tree is still standing on the property. - Keigan MacLeod

'Children should be able to play safe'

GLACE BAY, N.S. —

When Audrey Currie heard about a vacant lot infested with rats and raccoons in a neighbourhood in Glace Bay, she remembered her own encounter with a rat when she was younger.

“I lived on South Street and the wharf rats would come around often. I woke up one night and this rat was sitting at the end of the bed,” Currie said. “I let out a scream, and to make a long story short my father got the rat away with a piece of salt pork.”

She said this left an indelible imprint on her mind, and now thinks back to that moment when she thinks about rats. She thought about the children who play on Arthur Street, and decided to do something about it.

“Children should be able to play safe,” she said.

She said she called the Cape Breton Regional Municipality but was told the municipality wasn’t responsible. When she asked for help finding someone to clear it out, she claimed he hung up on her.

“I said to him ‘I’m not asking you to pay for it, I’m going to pay for it. Would you help me find somebody?’ He said that would be favoritism and hung up on me.”

She looked in the telephone book and contacted Paul McDonald Trucking & Backhoe Ltd. They surveyed the lot and immediately called her back, agreeing to do the work.

While visiting the workers to see the job being done, she was greeted by neighbours who were excited to see the over 10-year-old problem finally taken care of.

“I went over and the neighbours of course were all very curious, and they welcomed me up on their veranda to watch the show. They were very kind to me.”

Work on the vacant lot was finished on Monday, and looks noticeably different now that the elephant ears and other vegetation have been cleared out.
Work on the vacant lot was finished on Monday, and looks noticeably different now that the elephant ears and other vegetation have been cleared out.

While on the veranda, she was pleased to see the workers had left the lilac tree on the property, but then she noticed another uncleared lot next door.

“I thought ‘There’s another lot next to the house, I wonder where these rats are going to go?’” she said. “They’re going right into that lot.”

After work finished on Monday, Currie called Paul McDonald who then surveyed the other lot, and he told her the lot belongs to the town, but assured her the town would be very pleased she’s taking care of it.

While she didn’t want to share how much she paid to clear the lot, she was happy with the price considering she thought it would have been a lot more.

“I was very pleased with the reasonable price, and the excellent job they did. You wouldn’t believe these guys, they had a huge steel truck loading it all up, and they went deep into the ground to pull out all the elephant ears.”

Derek Wong has family living on the street, and frequents the neighbourhood. He thought it was a job well done, and couldn’t be more thankful.

“Hats off to this woman, my appreciation for her is overwhelming. I wish more vacant lots could be cleared in Glace Bay to revitalize the area,” he said.

If there is more work to be done next summer, Wong said he is more than happy to lend a hand to clear out the other lots in the neighbourhood.

“If the equipment is rented, I’ll go and operate it for nothing and help clean up."

RELATED: Rats, raccoons causing concern on Glace Bay vacant lot

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