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Halifax homelessness director says he's aware of rat problems at Victoria Park encampment

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During the day, food left outside attracts birds. At night, rats come out to feed.

Video of the rodent infestation at Victoria Park is making the rounds.

“I’m in a state of shock. I’ve walked through Victoria Park, and I saw a few, but that is outrageous,” says homelessness advocate Stephen Wilsack. “That should be condemned, and it should be shut down right away.”

Halifax's director of housing and homelessness is also aware of the problem. Max Chauvin says cleanliness is one of the reasons eviction notices were delivered to those staying in some of the city's encampments.

“I think if you have watched some of the video, some people actually feed the rodents themselves almost as if they were a pet,” he says.

Wilsack says the situation at Victoria Park is not happening at the Grand Parade encampment outside city hall.

“We have not seen any rats whatsoever,” says Wilsack.

That’s because garbage pickups are part of the daily routine, according to Wilsack.

“On a daily basis we ensure there is no garbage whatsoever — more importantly, that there is no food. The food is the number one culprit in terms of attracting various animals.

Those animals contribute to unsanitary conditions.

However, in a statement to CTV News, officials with the province say, “Public Health does not monitor rat populations, or homeless encampments for other issues.”

Five of the city’s encampments will be closed down on Monday, including Victoria Park.

City crews will then begin cleaning them. They will be closed to the public during the process.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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