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Ban on use of glyphosate sought until safety proven: RDCK

Glyphosate has been known to cause serious eye damage, is a toxic substance for aquatic life and is believed to be responsible for an 81 per cent decline in the Monarch butterfly population in North America.

The regional district is going to bat for the Monarch butterfly.

A motion has been passed by the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors to urge the province to “initiate an immediate scientific literature and litigation review of the chemical known as glyphosate.”

The B.C. Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is being asked to look into the chemical formula — known as glyphosate — that has been known to cause serious eye damage, is a toxic substance for aquatic life and is believed to be responsible for an 81 per cent decline in the Monarch butterfly population in North America.

Glyphosate is an herbicide and is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses, but the sodium salt form of glyphosate is used to regulate plant growth and ripen specific crops.

The chemical was first registered for use in the U.S. in 1974.

Herbicides containing glyphosate use a glyphosate salt with other ingredients to stabilize the herbicide formula and allow absorption into plants. The glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup was first developed by Monsanto in the 1970s.

Glyphosate is now banned in El Salvador, Sri Lanka, Bermuda, Columbia and Vietnam, and “juries in California have awarded multi-million dollar settlements against producers of products containing glyphosate and there are now more than 13,000 such lawsuits in the United States alone,” read a staff report to the board.

According to an anecdote in Wikipedia on glyphosate’s safety: “while the surfactants in formulations generally do not increase the toxicity of glyphosate itself, it is likely that they contribute to its acute toxicity. A 2000 review concluded that, “under present and expected conditions of new use, there is no potential for Roundup herbicide to pose a health risk to humans.”

However, until a review of glyphosate is complete — and there is no liable risk to people — the board has asked the province that use of the chemical be suspended across B.C., including on all public and private forest lands.

Keeping the beat on hotel tax

Support will continue in parts of the regional district — including Nelson — for the two per cent hotel tax.

The Nelson Kootaney Lake Tourism destination marketing organization’s (NKLT-DMO) executive director Dianna Ducs asked for the regional district board’s support to continue to collect the two per cent hotel tax within the NKLT-DMO footprint and received it.

The NKLT Society recently canvassed the accommodators currently collecting the two per cent hotel tax within the destination marketing footprint, and the DMO has received “broad support from within the tourism industry, municipalities, RDCK representatives and the accommodation sector,” noted Ducs in a letter to the board.

However, to continue operating the NKLT-DMO there must be a renewal of the agreement every five years, Ducs noted, and municipal support must be given.

Implementation of the proposed two per cent additional hotel room tax is expected to take place within Nelson, Kaslo,Balfour, Ainsworth Hot Springs, Meadow Creek, Lardeau, Crawford Bay, Gray Creek, Boswell, Wynndeland electoral areas A, D, E and F.

This will be the first year that Area A (East Shore) will join the NKLT-DMO. Some of the businesses that will be part of the DMO on the East Shore include Boccalino Restaurant and Motel, Tara Shanti Retreat, Bayshore Resort, Kokanee Springs, Kokanee Chalets, Destiny Bay Resort and Wedgewood Manor.

Administration of the proposed two per cent tax will take place through the Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism Society as the eligible entity.