City returns to pesticide use on streets

It’s been five years, but the exemption is about to be used.

Touchdown Total Herbicide will be used on hard surfaces in Salmon Arm.

Touchdown Total Herbicide will be used on hard surfaces in Salmon Arm.

It’s been five years, but the exemption is about to be used.

The city’s bylaw to regulate the cosmetic use of pesticides was enacted in 2009 and amended in 2011.

It contains several exemptions, one that states: “This bylaw shall not apply in respect of the application of pesticides to prevent the deterioration of hard landscapes after alternatives have been utilized without success.”

That time has come, says Rob Niewenhuizen.

Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, told city council Monday, Nov. 21 at its annual budget meeting that alternative methods are not working.

Coun. Alan Harrison had pointed out that the city is having trouble with vegetation growing between sidewalks and curbs.

“It seems like every year we’re going to spend more money on it. What do we do to be more efficient?”

Niewenhuizen proposed a $10,000 increase in the budget to do a one-time pesticide application. It would be used on some of the islands on the Trans-Canada Highway and some sidewalks, likely starting downtown.

He said two students were pulling weeds, which was successful – but the weeds prevailed and are wrecking the hard surfaces.

“It is too labour-intensive. It’s getting to the point now that weeds and weed seeds are so prevalent we can’t keep up with it,” Niewenhausen said.

Staff will use Touchdown Total Herbicide, a water soluble herbicide containing 36.9 per cent glyphosate.

Drafting the pesticide bylaw was a long process for the city.

Some residents began requesting a bylaw years earlier, with a group of physicians lobbying council in 2007. At that time they warned council of the detrimental health effects of pesticides, including glyphosate, particularly on children.

 

 

 

Communities

in Bloom

 

The blooms have wilted.

At its budget deliberation day on Monday, council decided to bow out of the Communities in Bloom program.

The program, which works to “enhance green spaces in communities,” recognized the work of city staff and gave Salmon Arm the top provincial ‘five bloom’ award two years in a row. However, the city can’t compete again provincially and would have to move to the national level – at a cost of $11,000.

The majority of council agreed the money could be better spent at this time, given that the price tag includes a fee, and airfare and accommodation for judges.

While council expressed appreciation for all the beautiful flowers, staff assured the same work would be done downtown without the contest.

Couns. Ken Jamieson and Chad Eliason were alone in voting against eliminating the program budget. Eliason suggested $5,500, stating the funds show council appreciates the work staff has done to achieve the awards.

Recreation

Salmon Arm will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in style.

Council topped up the Canada 150 budget by $10,000, providing $15,000 for a large interactive map of Canada for the art gallery, as well as $30,000 for a picnic, fireworks and other celebrations in July 2017.

The idea of a bike skills park was tossed around during budget deliberations.

Coun. Chad Eliason suggested $10,000 be put in reserve towards a future park, perhaps temporarily in Blackburn Park where there is fill galore. Council agreed it would take pressure off the skate park, but no decisions were made.