There was no For Sale sign up at the main entrance to the condo complex, yet information about new residents began to circulate.
The facts were scant at first, but it was clear, no one wanted these newcomers in our midst.
This whole event that developed into an uproar of sorts started simply enough.
The old north fence of the complex was taken down. The demolition opened an entry to a wild space of grasses and weeds.
One garbage pick-up day shortly afterwards, my neighbour’s trash was ripped open overnight and needed to be re-bagged. We put the whole thing down to a stray dog’s visit, and went on our morning walk.
It was strange, though, as in nearly 10 years of living here our garbage had never been disturbed.
The next week it was the same story. Now more than one household’s garbage was strewn about — a messy problem indeed.
Soon after, my neighbour saw an absolutely huge animal waddling between our homes and into the centre gardens. The white stripe down its back said one thing — skunk.
We began to put our weekly garbage out before breakfast on collection day instead of the night before. The problem just moved over to another area of the complex where people hadn’t yet heard about the skunk.
Then some other neighbours spotted it. All used words like huge and enormous to describe the creature. The reason for their use became apparent shortly afterwards.
One afternoon a couple walking home spotted several baby skunks in the shrubs in front of one of the condos.
Mama skunk had made her home under the hollow front steps of the home
Action was needed. Action occurred.
The management company was called. The president of the condo board was notified.
A pest management company appeared shortly after. By late afternoon, humane cage traps were set up.
The next morning one of the traps had been activated. Lots of noise emanated from inside it. A few hours later the pest company picked up the cage with its occupant. It was mama skunk.
Two other cages were set up. Another day passed. Nothing. However, baby skunks were seen running in and out of the traps eating the food bait. The little skunks seemed to be too light to trigger the door.
Phone calls between the condo board president and the pest control company ensued.
By this time counts of six, seven and even nine baby skunks were reported. They were so cute to watch. However, any loud noise resulted in tails raised high.
As the days went by, sometimes two baby skunks were caught at once. The count reached six. A solitary cage was left to stand guard near the front shrubs by the steps. Then one day the cage was gone.
Although I haven’t heard the final number, apparently all of our unwanted residents have been sent packing. Recently, two new families moved into the complex. They’re human and very welcome.
Jeannette Timmerman is a Richmond West-based writer.
Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Sou’wester area and would like to contribute to this column, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.