Are you able to hear the buzz? Try It Here

Vancouver is considering using mosquito-like buzzing to keep “vagrants” from hanging out after hours in the stairwells of city-owned parkades.

EasyPark, which runs city-owned parking lots in Vancouver, is before council today, requesting $147,000 to purchase 40 to 45 Mosquito noisemakers that emit a high-pitched whine that the majority of people older than 25 cannot hear.

Mel McKinney, general manager of EasyPark, said the goal of the Mosquito is to deter drug-activity and to stop rowdies from partying in stairwells after bars and nightclubs shut their doors.

“We get large groups of people who want to continue to party,” McKinney said. (They) gather in our stairwells with their own booze and want to smoke.”

He said there are often fights and janitorial staff has to clean up blood and human waste, in addition to broken drug needles.

David Eby, acting executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said the Mosquito disproportionately targets youth.

He is worried that it may be used to move people from public areas where they have every right to be.

EasyPark, McKinney said, has already tested the Mosquito for six months in a stairwell of one of its Downtown parkades.

He said people stopped hanging out in the stairwell within 24 hours of its installation. They received one complaint from a neighbour and have since lowered the volume.

The Mosquito, McKinney said, would be used at three to five sites, only in enclosed stairwells and on timers to run at specific times.