Mozziekrieg

DRONES, hovercrafts, helicopters and swamp boats have all been considered by Bayswater city council in its war on mozzies.

The council has been inundated with calls from residents and sports clubs about a surge in the blood-suckers at the Maylands foreshore. A March 6 public forum attracted about 70 itchy locals.

Maylands Peninsula Golf Club president Rob Graham says the insects make life “horrendous” for members.

Drones have been virtually ruled out because of their small payload and limited range.

Council staff say hovercrafts and swamp boats would require interstate or overseas transport and would be expensive to maintain. Based on South Perth council’s aerial baiting program the council estimates it’ll cost $87,500 to treat 20 hectares of inaccessible wetlands over five months, ballooning the total mozzie budget to around $277,500 per year.

South Perth reports a marked reduction in the number of blood-suckers after the treatment, but Bayswater staff believe the method will be onerous because of the cost of aerial pellets.

Aerial baiters Heliwest said the council would need arrangements in place with Ascot and Belmont race courses as “helicopters and million-dollar racehorses are a recipe for a law suit”.

Approval from Air Traffic Control would also be needed because of Perth’s busy midweek flight program.

Council managers recommend hiring another staffer and buying heavy machinery, which they say will enable wetlands management to double to 12 weeks a year.

The council wants the government to foot the estimated $130,000 bill, counting on a pre-election promise.

It will vote later this month on which plan to adopt.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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