City apologizes for pesticide use at Kinsmen Park
City director of Transportation and Civic Works Chris Barlow is falling on his sword this morning, accepting full responsibility for a mistake that saw herbicide sprayed in Castlegar’s Kinsmen Park this week.
“Our contractor goes around and checks all the fields, identifying the ones that have bad weeds, then comes back with a list of ones that need spraying,” Barlow said. “I missed that (Kinsmen Park) was not supposed to be on the list. It was my mistake.”
Both Kinsmen and Blueberry parks have been identified as areas that won’t be sprayed with any sort of pesticide. Blueberry Park did not and will not get treated.
“We’ve been using those areas as pilot projects for organic treatment,” Barlow explained. “We’ve tried alternatives like corn gluten, and spot treatments with citric acid. We haven’t had a great deal of success to date, but we’re still hoping to find something.”
The city today released the following press release:
On May 2 and 3, 2016, the City of Castlegar treated the following lawn and boulevard areas with herbicide in accordance with City’s Integrated Pest Management plan:
Kinsmen Park – last treated in 2009
Cone Hill Park – last treated in 2012
32nd Street flower bed area – last treated in 2015
Branson Park – last treated in 2012
Complex Boulevards – not playing fields – last treated in 2014
Fire Hall Lawn – last treated in 2015
Woodland Park Triangle – last treated in 2012
Pioneer Arena lawn – last treated in 2014
As part of the City’s program, turfed areas are monitored for weeds and only treated if they show excessive weed growth. Unfortunately, Kinsmen Park was treated with herbicide which is contrary to the City’s position that Kinsmen Park and Blueberry Park would remain herbicide free, regardless of the weed growth. In addition, the City has an internal policy to provide one week’s notice of upcoming treatments on the City’s website. This notice period was missed.
Provincially approved signage and non-use requirements were followed.
The City sincerely apologizes to park users and the public for the error in treating Kinsmen Park and the insufficient notice period.
The City has suspended any further treatments until additional formal treatment approval procedures are established so that this type of oversight will not happen again.
In addition, the City will be reviewing the areas currently receiving treatment.