West Kelowna council has rejected looking into the cost of a mosquito-control program in the city.—Image credit: contributed

West Kelowna rejects mosquito-control program

Proposed program dubbed ‘ridiculous’ and ‘throwing good money after bad.’

West Kelowna city council has rejected the idea of a mosquito-control program.

Despite a staff recommendation to investigate the cost, several councillors blasted the proposal, with one calling it “ridiculous,” another saying it would be “throwing good money after bad,” and a third saying by the time the plan would come together this year, the mosquitoes will be dead.

Both Coun. Rosalind Neis and Coun. Duane Ophus suggested it’s too late in the year to look at such a program.

“Going down this road, at this time of year, would be ridiculous,” said Ophus, calling any proposed mosquito-control program just for public property “too expensive and not efficient.”

“We have to draw the line somewhere,” he said.

Neis said given that it is now the middle of June, by the time such a program would be up and running the mosquitoes will likely have died off for the season. She added she did not want to see money and staff time used on the program when so much is already happening in the city that needs staff attention.

Coun. Bryden Winsby said he feared the public would react negatively to a program that only dealt with mosquitoes on public, not private, land.

“They’ll say the city spent a pile of dough chasing mosquitoes trying to kill them and it didn’t solve my problem at all,” said Winsby. “We still have clouds of them.”

“I think it’s throwing good money after bad.”

The Central Okanagan Regional District, which has operated a small mosquito control program in two areas of the city dating back to before provincial money was available for the task during the West Nile Virus scare 10 years ago, has estimated the cost of a city-wide program would be between $22,000 and $44,000 per year. Provincial money for mosquito control dried up in 2012.

Mayor Doug Findlater said he was concerned about getting into a regional program because it was “like Hotel California—once you get in, you can’t get out.”

After the motion to investigate the cost of the program was defeated, Findlater—who moved it and voted for it—said he would not shed a tear over its defeat.