UXBRIDGE: Township staff has developed a creative strategy to deal with an ongoing infestation of wasps at a local playground.
A report issued to councillors at their meeting on the morning of Monday, Oct. 7 from Township Facilities Manager Bob Ferguson detailed the issue of wasp infestation that has plagued the Mason Homes playground on Apple Tree Cres. for the past three years.
As a result of the continued wasp infestation, a rubberized surface will replace the existing sand at the playground to combat the issue.
According to Mr. Ferguson’s report, the amount of wasps that have buried themselves in the sand has made the park unusable for residents in the area.
Numerous attempts have been made by Parks Department staff to rid the park of the wasps over the past three years, including spraying nests, roto-tilling the sand weekly, and even the complete removal of the sand in the sand box and replacing it with new sand.
However, wasps have continued to reappear now for the third straight year resulting in the playground closure for most of the season.
Mr. Ferguson noted that the residents in the Mason Homes area have been very understanding throughout this process to remove the insects, however there are a few residents that have children with severe allergies.
To combat the issue, township staff have looked into removing the sand and replacing it with a rubberized surface that will meet CSA Standards, in the hopes that the new surface will eliminate the insects from being able to penetrate the ground, and hopefully eliminate the issues area residents have been dealing with for the last three years.
However, Ward 4 Councillor Jacob Mantle expressed concerns over the possibility of wasps migrating to nearby areas, and continuing to plague the playground.
"There will be none in the sand, but no guarantee that there won’t be any in the area," commented Councillor Mantle. "My concern is that if we have $30,000, do we replace equipment in other areas, rather than spend that money on a problem that might not get fixed?"
Despite Councillor Mantle’s concerns, other members of council were on board with the project, and its potential for possible expansion to other areas of the municipality. As well, the playground in question is fully accessible, allowing all residents the ability to enjoy its use.
"I think this gives us an excellent opportunity to test another surface for future use," said Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor. "To have a playground that’s accessible to all residents just sit there unused is sad."