City herbicide use to continue

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
July 15th, 2009

The city’s pest management program came under scrutiny at Monday night’s regular council meeting after the city’s public works department spent months exploring non-toxic alternatives to weed control products currently in use.

Councillor and Transportation and Civic Works committee chair Russ Hearne said the current program has been in place since it implementation in 2004, after an effort to forgo the use of herbicides altogether left the city with prolific weeds that were undermining the value of city greenspaces and threatening to damage city infrastructure with invasive root structures.

New this year, though, has been the introduction of a non-toxic product called EcoClear to manage sidewalk crack and crevice weeds, instead of the traditional application of Round-up.

“EcoClear is a blend of acetic and citric acid, ingredients that can be found in vinegar and lemon juice,” Hearne said. “It seems to be working.”

What the city has not been able to find is a non-toxic alternative for dealing with broadleaf weeds, as there are no such products licensed for use in B.C. at this time, Hearne said.

“There might be one, called Sarritor, available in 2010,” he said. “For now, we’re still using the safest product we can find, and limiting our applications to once a year (during comparatively low-usage times) to limit its contact with people.”

City director of Transportation and Public Works Chris Cochran further pointed out, in his report, that while some applications are discretionary based on aesthetic considerations, “most are required operationally, as is the case (with) vegetation management on the embankments at the sewage lagoons”.

For more information, back-up documentation is available within this week’s council meeting agenda, which can be found at www.castlegar.ca by clicking on ‘City Hall’, then ‘meetings’, then ‘council’.

Categories: General